Imagine: Drawing Lessons From The Storms

November 10, 2014

ast-Present-and-Future-signs-genericImagine Bermuda held a Roundtable Discussion on Thursday [Nov 6] discussing ‘Drawing the Lessons from the Storms’.

A spokesperson said, “The number of attendees was down on our last Roundtable held on July 18th with some 30 persons attending as compared to more than 50 on that occasion. That may be due to the short notice time we gave for this event. However, what was lacking in quantity, it more than made up for in the quality of discussion.

“We began with a nutshell presentation from Martha Dismont who made the point that the experience the double whammy offered a reminder that Bermuda’s most important asset was its people. She went on to suggest that the storms demonstrated the potential of our people to address challenges when we work together.

“Bishop Nicholas Dill pointed out that the storms restored neighbourhoods; requiring people to work together to clear throughways while the power failure had children playing out of doors. He suggested that the lesson would be that an on-going effort to renew and maintain a sense of neighbourliness could have a sustaining impact on our overall sense of community.

“Rev. Nicholas Tweed offered that the storms produced a ‘crisis unity’ that demonstrated how we could really collaborate as a community on an on-going basis. He spoke to the need to develop as deeper sense of trust among all sectors of society through honest and open dialogue.

“Chewstick’s Gavin Smith noted that the storms had surfaced the potential that our small society has for real solidarity. He expressed the view that there is a need to sustain that potential in order to address the longer term crisis facing us, the Economic Storm.

“Dr Mark Guishard – Meteorologist – provided a simplified overview of the two storms and demonstrated that the impact could have been far more dramatic, concluding that we ‘dodged a bullet’.

“He concluded that Fay had assisted in limiting the affect of Gonzalo and that we benefited from Low Tides at impact, as well as a large Eye. [He reported that he currently heads the Sea Cadets and called for us to build on the sense of volunteerism]

“Their nutshell presentations sparked a deep discussion out of which came a number of suggestions that are captured in the Synopsis captured on the other document.

“We will be sending the results from this process to the Cabinet Secretary in the hope that it may be useful to the EMO’s post mortem process.”

Hurricane Reflections October 2014: Themes of Coming Together and Having Empathy

The Hurricane provided an opportunity to;

  • come together,
  • see our neighbours,
  • have a sense of community,
  • show kindness,
  • build relationships, connect face to face and heart to heart,
  • show compassion and concern for others
  • have a shared, common experience, mutual pain, seeing the power of nature
  • show volunteerism
  • interact with others to get things done
  • reach beyond ourselves
  • have empathy for other’s experience
  • xperience the simple joy of giving without getting anything in return – altruism versus kindness
  • find a personal sense of giving

Themes of Making Change, Taking Action, Being Prepared

  • Importance of being prepared… from various perspectives…spiritual, financial, social
  • Need for more active preparation before storms on a co-ordinated, national scale (example of Cuba)
  • Getting used to a new normal…What is normal? What do we take for granted? Are there new ways of being?
  • Being able to cope, be competent, make adjustments, shifting a mindset
  • How do we retain what we have discovered or re-discovered about our community?
  • Take Action with a National Clean Up Day…just do it all together (National Trust is doing this weekly at their properties)
  • Helping young people take personal responsibility, have a sense of stewardship and care of Island home
  • Will we have short-term ‘crisis unity’ that is temporary and then return to status quo or make lasting change?
  • Storm makes us focus, have a get it done attitude, get cracking and clear the debris….just do it
  • Wanting to just get on with things, just do it and get it done, sense of urgency
  • How do we communicate, who gets the messages, do our systems for communication work?

Themes of History

  • Back in the day….have we lost the way…being neighbourly, helping without expecting anything in return, taking personal responsibility, looking out for each other.
  • How do we get the connections back?
  • Need to be honest about our past, who we are, what has happened
  • Listen to all our stories and connect
  • Respect the different lived truths/experiences and try to stand in another’s shoes.
  • Have we forgotten how to reach out to others?
  • How about we learn to trust and respect ourselves, our services, our people, our voices, our observations
  • What are the boundaries or rules for all of us?
  • What sacrifices need to be made?

Metaphors – The storm

  • allowed me to have a different view and see my neighbours again
  • created many tree trunks that we need to navigate, cut through….like our current challenges
  • made me look for what part I could play in recovery of the Island
  • has been like a brief ‘eye’ or respite in our current economic storm by creating work
  • just like our current social and economic challenges, the storm (s),
    • developed on our doorstep…there was no warning
    • was unexpectedly intense, partly due to the extensive growth that happened just before
    • was worse for many in the second half
    • was a double whammy (like the social and economic difficulties)
  • can be a catalyst for change…What do we plant in the gaps that have developed in our community?
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Comments (3)

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  1. okay says:

    we should not need a storm to obtain solidarity. i know who my neighbors are in calm winds…but that is none of my business

  2. Joop says:

    Instead of all this touchy-feely stuff, why don’t people make practical suggestions, like starting to get rid of casuarinas, which have caused much of the major damage in hurricanes since the ’50s.

  3. Triangle Drifter says:

    Looks like there was as much wind in that room as ouside during the storm.