Caribbean Island is On Track to Become the World’s First ‘Hurricane-Proof’ Country

When a category 5 hurricane makes landfall, few things borne of our civilization can resist the power of the winds and surging, violent waves.

Yet the tiny nation of Dominica—which is even smaller than its neighbor Dominican Republic—is on course to hurricane-proof its country after being devastated by Hurricane Maria.

The cat. 5 that struck the island two years ago, destroyed 226% of the country’s GDP and 90% of the structures.

Describing the project as creating the first “climate resilient” nation, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit addressed the UN general assembly in the aftermath of Maria’s landfall, asking for the funds to create such a nation—one that cannot only resist powerful storms physically, but also economically and spiritually.

“In the past, we would prepare for one heavy storm a year. Now, thousands of storms form on a breeze in the mid-Atlantic and line up to pound us with maximum force and fury,” he said to the UN.

Skerrit’s plan is to create cities of hurricane-proof structures that won’t leave mountains of debris behind after storms.

“The challenges are not just related to infrastructure. Resilience in our view is how vulnerable you are in the first place,” Pepe Bardouille told National Geographic.

That’s why they are starting with the building codes.

By Hugh Fiske, CC license

A CREAD to live by

Bardouille is CEO of the government’s Climate Resilience Execution Agency of Dominica (CREAD), and he believes that building a climate-resilient nation starts with every person considering how the planning decisions they make will hold up under winds higher than 150 mph.

CREAD has been charged with establishing uniform building codes, geothermal energy plants, a hurricane-proof hospital and healthcare system, and improving public transit.

RELATED: Scientists Believe They Found a Way to Stop Future Hurricanes in Their Tracks

“How to keep a society and economy in a small country with a limited tax base and a huge number of climactic challenges running on a shoestring. Those are the challenges,” Bardouille says.

But the Prime Minister’s vision also includes a prosperous ecotourism industry that could replenish the state’s coffers before and after storms deplete them.

There is one landfill on Dominica, and it’s nearly full. Cleaning up plastic waste and switching to biodegradable items like bottles, food packaging, and more will be key to CREAD’s strategy of helping the country look nicer for travelers. Plastic trash is whipped around in powerful storms and scattered hither and yon, despoiling the natural beauty of the country.

In 2018, GNN reported that Skerrit had enacted a ban on plastic and other debris such as single-use straws, and Styrofoam food items to try and aid in creating the image of a pristine Caribbean island that will attract tourists with deeper pockets. The following year, the Climate Resilience Act went into full force, and gave birth to CREAD.

RELATED: Cruise Passengers Turn Their Trip into Humanitarian Mission by Helping the Crew Prepare Meals for Hurricane Victims

The economy has since grown by 9 percent. Tourists are back on the beaches, and children are back in the classrooms. A new state-of-the-art hospital opened in August of 2019, while construction around the island has created five hundred new homes with another 1,000 on the way.

Described as “The Nature Island”, tropical rainforests filled with colorful birds encircle volcanoes looming above coral reefs and beaches of white, brown, and even black sands—things which typify Dominica as not just a place for margaritas and sunny days in a resort, but adventure and exploration.

MORE: These Sustainable Fireproof, Weather-Proof Domes Provide Revolutionary Housing Solutions

As with so many countries, Dominica represents a great place for a vacation—and a vacation represents a way to directly and effectively support the climate-resilient economy.

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All Australian Bushfires in NSW Have Officially Been Contained Thanks to Week of Heavy Rain

Photo by Pablo Anwandter / NSW Rural Fire Service

After months of bushfires raging across the Australian coast, elated firefighters have just announced that they have managed to contain all of the fires.

The exciting news comes after a week of historic rainfall in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Although there are still 24 active fires burning in the region, they are small enough for firefighters to manage accordingly.

“After what’s been a truly devastating fire season for both firefighters and residents who have suffered through so much this season, all fires are now contained in NSW, which is great news,” said Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers.

“Not all fires are out, there’s still some fire activity in the far south of the state, but all fires are contained so we can really focus on helping people rebuild.”

LOOK: Australian Soldiers Are Using Their Time Off to Care for Koalas Displaced by the Fires

Prior to the start of the downpour last week, there were 61 active fires, roughly 20 of which were uncontained.

Many of the bushfires have been fueled by the drought conditions that have plagued eastern Australia for the last three years.

Thanks to the rain, however, Sydney—which is the largest city in Australia—enjoyed their wettest day on record in about 15 months.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the welcomed rainfall has also helped to refill Sydney’s reservoirs to their highest levels since the drought began in November 2018, with the state dams reporting an average of 75% capacity.

(WATCH the announcement video below)

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