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Green Ways of Responding to and Preparing for Natural Disasters

You love the planet, but there are times that it won’t love you back. It seems as though there’s a new natural disaster plaguing the planet every day. Whether it’s an earthquake, flood, tornado or tsunami, they happen unexpectedly and can completely change life as you know it.

Even in times of fear and chaos, you shouldn’t leave your green standards behind. It turns out that you don’t have to: There are plenty of ways to respond to and prepare for natural disasters that won’t hurt the planet. We’ve gathered some of the best ideas below to make it easy for you to get an idea of what it takes to repair the Earth – and yourself – when an unexpected storm hits.

How to Recover From Natural Disasters in a Green Way

The environment has shown its bad side, and you’re living in a city post-natural disaster. What should you do? There are plenty of ways to ensure that your town recovers from damage in a way that’ll improve things in the long run.

For example, Tuscaloosa, Ala., suffered major damage after a 2011 tornado wiped out upwards of 5,000 homes in less than six minutes. Rather than rebuild the town as it was pre-tornado, local government formulated a plan to build a city that will be more eco-friendly than its predecessor.

The future Tuscaloosa will be built closer together, so that businesses and residences coalesce. This, in turn, will cut down on the need for cars on the road because locals will be able to walk or bike to work. Add in the city’s new expansive stretches of pathways, green spaces, parks and a bunch of trees, and you’ve got a smartly planned city that’s better than it ever was before.

Of course, you might not be in charge of rebuilding an entire city on your own. Perhaps your home has suffered damage and it’s up to you to put it back on its proverbial feet. If so, there are plenty of eco-friendly building methods on the market today.

Take, for example, modular homes. They’re constructed in factories instead of on-site, but don’t be fooled: they’re nothing like the trailers you’ve seen teetering on the back of a truck. They’ve got all of the features and upgrades that you want and, as an added bonus, they’re easy on the Earth. They’re more efficient than traditional homes, and they incur less waste than those built on-site. Plus, they can be manufactured and built extremely quickly, meaning you and your family won’t be living in a foreign place for too long. Home sweet home will be yours as soon as possible.

How to Prepare for Natural Disasters in a Green Way

The Earth has been churning out natural disasters as of late, thanks to global warming. The changes in temperature seem to have created the ideal temperatures and weather conditions for all types of inclement weather. Now that we know that they’re more likely to happen, we should prepare accordingly.

The Environmental Protection Agency, for one, has proposed smart growth tactics so that, as populations increase in the future, we can do our part to reduce damage on the Earth. It proposes, among other tactics, that we reuse preexisting infrastructure rather than build brand-new, from-scratch schools, offices and other structures. It also proposes that we continue to take note of and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Those are certainly logical and easy-to-follow preparations, and everyone can do his or her part to help.

On the home front, you can prepare for a natural disaster by putting together a bag full of the supplies you’ll need if a hurricane, tornado, flood or earthquake hits your town. The most important tip when creating one of these is that you shouldn’t fill it with more than what you can comfortably carry. You never know if you’ll have access to a car or other transport, so imagine that you’re depending on your own strength to carry your belongings.

You should include the most essential items you need to survive, such as nonperishable foods, water, prescription medications, hygiene products, flashlight, etc. You might also consider purchasing a lightweight sleeping bag or tent for worst-case scenario situations. Also, make a list of things that you use every day that you can’t put in your disaster bag because, well, you’re using them. Jot them down – cell phone, eyeglasses, tablet or computer – so that you know what to grab if you have to evacuate quickly.

Of course, in the ideal situation, you would be able to stay home and weather the storm in comfort and perhaps a bit more calm. You can ensure an even higher level of comfort by purchasing a back-up generator and other storm-relief equipment that will help you maintain some semblance of normal life.

The best way to prepare, though, is to always remain calm and make the best decisions that you can in the heat of the moment. The Earth – and everyone around you – will thank you for it.