Busy week with a lot of interviews! Last one of the week: Joe Woerner from the Asbury Park City Council.
In this interview we discussed the balance and decision making between either short-term fixes or long-term adaptive strategies after Superstorm Sandy. It is very easy for bystanders to say that long-term strategies are the best solutions to face a future of storm risks. Joe, who is very aware of the positive sides and agrees that long-term change is the way to go, also understands from first hand experience that sometimes this is just not realistic.
Immediately after the storm, people were out if their homes, lost their businesses, some took their loss and left, others rebuild, and others didn’t know what to do. That moment is not the time to think about how it should all be different, it is a time to help your community and then the next community, and then the next.. Rebuilding a boardwalk in exactly the same way as it was before may be a short-term fix, but it is needed for the whole city to have income in the summer season. Also finance, resources and capacity of the local government are factors that influence the interventions that are chosen. It is hard to keep your focus on the horizon if there are a hundred things that need to be done right now.
After the most short-term solutions are found, the city can at least function as normal again. But then the question raises whether people remember the importance of long-term climate adaptation, when everything seems back to normal…