A group of people from the Occupy Wall Street movement is collaborating with the climate change advocacy group 350.org and a new online toolkit for disaster recovery, recovers.org, to organize a grassroots relief effort in New York City.
Occupy Sandy: http://occupywallst.org/article/occupy-sandy/
Boston TEDX talk by Recovers.org http://www.ted.com/talks/caitria_and_morgan_o_neill_how_to_step_up_in_the_face_of_disaster.html
The combination of the jobs and economic focus of Occupy with the climate change and energy transition ideas of 350.org along with the disaster recovery systems of Recovers.org is a model that can build resilience and preparedness quickly if continued. Add Solar IS Civil Defense, set the Maker Culture loose, and it just might shade over into Solar Swadeshi, Gandhian economics, a non-violent and restorative open source peer-to-peer economic system where we plan for 100% success for all humanity, to paraphrase R Buckminster Fuller.
First encountered Recovers.org in April, 2012 when Caitria O'Neill, one of the founders, spoke at Harvard. Morgan O'Neil, Caitria's sister and another of the founders, was working on a PhD in atmospheric science before her hometown of Monson, MA was hit by a tornado and she began disaster recovery work.
Here are my rough notes from that presentation:
Common misconceptions - Red Cross and FEMA organize volunteers, assess needs and donations, or canvass neighborhoods. They do not do any of these things.
Common problems - Spontaneous volunteers and unsolicited donations (almost never a need for clothes)
[accommodating surges of volunteers, donations, and interest is a problem not confined to natural disasters]
Town/ngo/community responses do not interface optimally now
No centralized info hub
Short window of interest - 50% of web searches on a disaster are in the first 7 days but needs are beginning to be reported only after that first week
Recover.org databases the initial interest information for use later
Use community organizations for long-term recovery
[build resilience, especially for most common emergencies and disasters - flood, fire, blizzard, drought]
Internet communication more organized and prioritized than facebook
Centralized info clearinghouse
Tools: needs reporting, canvassing, volunteer management, donation databases
Fema pays for 75%, state pays for 15%, town pays for 10% - and volunteer hours can be counted if accounted for.
Recovers.org has a database service that can be deployed online immediately along with a package of tools to take advantage of that initial interest
Post-disaster assistance free
License subscriptions to preparing towns - first sale to five towns in Illinois in response to periodic flooding
Planning for After the Storm Emergency and Before the Next One
Building Resilient Communities: John Robb at NYC Maker Faire
Eating the City and Town: Todmorden and Beyond
My Solutions to Climate Change