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Experts address how to be prepared in environmental, economic disasters

Experts address how to be prepared in...

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - It's easy to think where you live is safe from any type of disaster, but experts say that's not the case.

Economic resilience was the main focus at La Crosse's Sustainability Institute symposium Thursday.

Leaders and speakers say should we ever experience environmental or economic challenges, we can be prepared in more ways than we think.

"How do we turn ourselves inward a little bit an do a better job of understanding strengths and our own assets in our own backyard," said Andrew Dane, a community development specialist  with Short Elliot Hendrickson.

Dane says it doesn't matter how big or small, wealthy or poor an area is, disaster can strike anywhere, at anytime.

"How do we work together to craft a vision of resiliency as communities as we're faced with big shocks to the system, whether it's economic shocks in the form of a major recession, or environmental shocks in the form of climate change and disruptions to weather patterns large storm-water rainfall events."

Dane says at both the state and federal level, there are many strengths like creating jobs and building new infrastructure.

But he stresses there is work to be done.

"Too many people are falling in the cracks, we've got  high persistent rates of poverty, we've got challenges like dis-investments in our inner cities, we've got challenges of maintaining older homes."

Sustainability Coordinator Casey Meehan says the more that people can offer insight on being economically resilient, the better.

"What we're hoping to do is bring a couple of different perspectives into the sustainability institute resilience symposium, because we want people to be able to toss around different ideas."

Dane says it's possible and it's a matter of getting together to be more prepared.

"Getting to know your neighbors, doing a better job of developing friendships and social bonds with people in your neighborhood, people who maybe don't look or dress or talk like you, getting out of our comfort zones."

Speakers addressed approaches to economic policy at the state level, including the recent Foxconn legislation.


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