Human resilience is the part of climate adaptation we are investing in the least.

Allan Pietrasanta lives up in Bishop, the Eastern Sierra where they’ve had lots of fires: This is an edited version of what he posted on his Facebook.

“About 6 weeks ago I spent an evening in a room of 50-60 people from Sonoma and Napa counties listening to them talk about their experiences during the complex of fires that had occured there. They talked about their loss, but also about what’s next, how they could and would recover. It was a humbling and cathartic expereince, but for me also sad. Reluctantly I told them they should do everything they can to recover as quickly as possible, but there are a few things to remember. 1. A lot of the people displaced do not come back, they simply don’t have the resources, the insurance doesn’t cover enough, disaster assistance doesn’t cover enough, if you are on the edge this puts you over the edge and it is very very hard to come back. 2. All of the attention is on you now and you should leverage it for everything it is worth, because it won’t last. Another disaster will displace you and all of the attention will shift to the next climate disaster. There will never be enough money or time to fully recover. 3. The stress of the loss is long-term, on-going and often overlooked. The grind of trying to recover, from assembling your memories, to finding a place to live, to the process of filling out the labyrinth of forms, applications, and statements, to the impact of losing your friends and community, are massive. Depression, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide and a wide range of stress related illnesses, all spike. Human resilience is the part of climate adaptation we are investing in the least. Welcome to the anthropocene. Start planning to be the next place, because the more you can do in advance to adapt to the change the better. The more you plan in advance the more you can help your friends and neighbors…because in the end we are all in this together.”

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