MATH Builds Mid-Atlantic Extreme Weather Resilience

Far Rockaway: A Beacon for Mid-Atlantic Coastal Communities

Statement by the Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub (MATH)

Climate change has drastically accelerated the frequency with which the Mid-Atlantic region will experience what had been classified as “once in 100 years” storms. Encompassing the megacities of New York, Newark, NJ, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, and Washington DC, the Mid-Atlantic region is the most powerful, influential, and resourceful urban corridor in the world. Imagine Atlantic coastal cities, while vulnerable to ocean storm activity, fortified by increasingly localized economies; connected via commerce to cities within 100 miles in order to meet most of residents’ needs. Relocalization is the definition of resilience, the ability to bounce back quickly, in an era of recurring climate disruptions.

Residents of Atlantic coastline and flood plain communities have an ally in the Transition Towns environmental movement. The Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub (MATH), a network of Transition towns and cities in the six-state Mid-Atlantic region, supports groups of local residents who strategically build foundations of long term community resilience. Transition is 100%, an “ordinary-people-led movement.”

Extreme weather is rapidly becoming the new norm. Residents of Mid-Atlantic cities and towns can determine not to be at the mercy of flooding and the debilitating power outages suffered during hurricanes Sandy and Irene. The Transition movement is a neighbor-led community organizing response to climate change, resource depletion and financial instability with over 1,100 local initiatives in 44 countries and over 150 in the US. The Transition Neighborhoods process, adapted to the specific needs of Mid-Atlantic communities, invites neighbors to strengthen their sense of place, build relationships as they map their neighborhood's current state of resiliency, looking at food, energy, water, waste, consumption and transportation. The goal is to proactively move communities away from reliance on fossil fuels, toward a much more resilient, improved quality of life.

The Transition Towns movement, originated in permaculture systems-design, cultivates a shared mindset shift to the new climate change, energy, and economic, “normals.” Like natural living systems, “transitioning” happens at interconnected and communicating hyper-local, local, water/foodshed, state, regional, national and international scales. The Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub (MATH) facilitates the flow of support and communication among all of these levels. The Transition Neighborhoods process, designed by activists in megacities, directly reflects the resilience-building needs of the densely populated, highly diverse chain of metropolitan areas in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Far Rockaway NY: A Beacon for Mid-Atlantic Citizen-led Community Resilience

Residents of the Mid-Atlantic region are encouraged to pick up the resilience baton and run with it. MATH spotlights Far Rockaway NY as an example of friends and neighbors’ determination to shape their own capacity to bounce back from extreme weather interruptions. Experience such as that of Sandy-devastated Far Rockaway must reverberate throughout the Mid-Atlantic region if we intend to skillfully ride the wave of climate change.

Traumatized by the storm, Rockaway was subsequently exploited and abused by a sea of bureaucratic red tape in Sandy’s aftermath. Residents of storm-ravaged, marginalized Rockaway are using the Transition Neighborhoods process to stand tall and grapple effectively with recovery and oncoming climate change. So too can residents of other climate change-vulnerable Mid-Atlantic communities. MATH stands ready to assist.

The Transitioning of a town, village, hamlet or a city, (neighborhood by neighborhood), starts with a series of small group meetings. Interested residents then request a Transition LAUNCH training and get into action. Following numerous Rockaway needs assessment “listening meetings,” and a Transition LAUNCH training in April of 2015, Transition activists and Rockaway residents recognized the need to prioritize local food production. This spring, led by permaculture designers and local master-gardeners, the two groups built community gardens using an innovative combination of donated, recycled and repurposed materials and tools. Hoop houses and aquaponics are next up on the docket.

Together, Rockaway residents, Transition NYC and the Mid-Atlantic Transition network produced a June 27th “Convergence” event to promote local climate change resilience, health, community-building, neighborhood food security and production, renewable energy, and creative waterfront restoration.

The Transition Neighborhoods process, encompassing projects like the gardens collaboration and all of the resilience-building possibilities that were showcased at the Convergence, can easily be replicated elsewhere throughout the Mid-Atlantic coastal region, and beyond. Transition Rockaway is now part of, contributes its experience to, and is supported by the Transition community-of practice comprised of colleagues throughout the region.
The Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub (MATH) is dedicated to creating a non-hierarchical, ever-evolving regional human ecosystem. Residents of the magnificent Mid-Atlantic region are encouraged to take part. The goal is to maintain a balance between deeply understanding the gravity of the environmental, energy and economic crises we face, and experiencing the joy of working in supportive community in order to ACT: harmoniously, consistently, strategically and effectively.

If we wait for the government, it'll be too little too late.
If we act as individuals, it'll be too little.
But if we act as communities, it might just be just enough, just in time.

View the MATH "Rockaway Work In Progress" Retrospective presentation here. > > (646)-241-8386

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