The Under-Reported Story of Disasters (That Most People Have Missed)

Reporting routinely underplays how local communities come together to respond to the hardships they face while supporting each other during times of disruption.

When environmental disasters occur, the majority of news coverage teeters on the edge of “disaster porn” at best; focusing on the sheer mass of destruction and disruption to the affected regions while celebrating a few token “heroes.” At its worst, the media often perpetuates harmful stereotypes, depicting people trying to meet their basic needs for survival as “looters” and justifying the extrajudicial killings of people of color by the police and mostly white vigilantes, like what occurred during Hurricane Katrina.

But in both scenarios, reporting routinely underplays how local communities come together to respond to the hardships they face while supporting each other during times of disruption. It’s a good thing that people gravitate together during a crisis rather than pushing each other away because all signs point towards an increase in climate change-fueled disasters in the coming years and decades.

Now is the time to work together with everyone in our communities to increase our resilience before a disaster strikes. While a little preparation today can save a lot of trouble tomorrow, it can also have the immediate benefits that come with stronger community ties, reduction of social isolation, and the joy that comes from a sense of accomplishment.

In order to illustrate this point, we worked with artist Kane Lynch to help us tell this story:

Want to learn more? Listen to The Response podcast, read our ongoing editorial series, watch our film (available soon), and find more resources for community-led disaster relief and resilience at: www.shareable.net/the-response

This article is part of our series of participatory magazines we’re producing in 2019. Each participatory magazine combines digital editorial with a live event focused on an urgent, sharing related challenge. The goal of each participatory magazine is to catalyze action. Drop us a line if you’d like to get involved or sponsor one or more of our remaining 2019 participatory magazines: [email protected]


This post was previously published on Shareable and is republished here with a Creative Commons license.

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Photo credit: istockphoto

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