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What is resilience?

Coastal resilience means building the ability of a community to "bounce back" after hazardous events such as hurricanes, coastal storms, and flooding – rather than simply reacting to impacts.

Resilience is important everywhere because all communities face hazard threats such as droughts and flooding. Coastal areas have additional hazard risk from storms such as hurricanes and increased population pressures, making resilience particularly important in those locations.    (Video Transcript)

A community that is more informed and prepared will have a greater opportunity to rebound quickly from weather and climate-related events, including adapting to sea level rise. The ability to rebound more quickly can reduce negative human health, environmental, and economic impacts.

The ability of a community to successfully recover is linked to the strengths and capacities of individuals, families, businesses, schools, hospitals, and other parts of the community. Also, there are more people moving into high-risk areas such as the coast. With these population increases, homes, businesses, and infrastructure are also at great risk of damage from hazards. 

Because all communities are going to face hazards, resilience is important. Resilience is our ability to prevent a short-term hazard event from turning into a long-term community-wide disaster. While most communities effectively prepare themselves to respond to emergency situations, many are not adequately prepared to recover in the aftermath.

Video Transcript

Communities across the country are increasingly vulnerable to natural disasters and long-term change to the atmosphere and ocean. Our ability to withstand and recover is called resilience. The true test of resilience is how well we can bounce back. Resilience is societal, economic, and ecological. Understanding risk and preparing today can help protect the things we care about. Communities can mitigate flooding through natural shorelines and we can work to understand how chemical and biological changes to our ocean impact marine life and habitat. We cannot overrule Mother Nature, but there are actions that we can take together to build resilient communities and support a healthy ocean, sustainable fisheries, and thriving communities and economies. NOAA provides businesses, resource managers, decision makers, community planners, and individuals the tools and environmental intelligence to build resilience, adapt, and thrive.