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Our Changing Times: Institutions

This is the start of a series called ˜Our Changing Times”. It will be about how we are starting to alter our way of living in response to global climate change. Whether we are born with it, or we learn as we grow in the profession, scientists tend to be good observers of what is going on around them. They look for trends in their data and project that into theories with associated mechanisms.It has been three years since hurricane Ivan started the process of kicking some sense into coastal residents and Katrina finished it. Now, the nation seems to have finally gotten the message. Hurricanes happen and will continue to impact our coastal areas. To continue living and building like we have will only lead to future personal and business losses.Like living things institutions have responded. In order to survive insurance companies have to continue to remain profitable to their stockholders. As a response to hurricane damage claims they have raised their homeowner rates along the coasts greatly. Entire areas were dropped because they offered too great a future risk to the profitability of the company(s).This has in turn made coastal property somewhat less desirable than it was before the recent unpleasantness of hurricanes Ivan and Katrina. The home building industry is starting to offer module home as one answer to hurricane damage prevention. These homes are built in sections and then transported to the construction site. Some are rated to withstand 120 mph winds.The following links will take you a couple of sites that have a lot of information on adaptive housing.http://www.scrapbookscrapbook.com/DAC-ART/modular-kit-houses.htmlhttp://www.mfghome.org/mc/lib/showtemp_detail.asp?id=66&cat=whats_hotBanks and other lending organizations are finding it is not in their or the home owners’ best interest to offer so called ˜creative financing” when it comes to home loans. This is becoming especially true in hurricane prone areas of our country. In light of the sub prime loan crisis these institutions are seeing that this adaptation is a method to enhance their survival and help avert future losses.Colleges are finding ways to adapt to the thousands of displaced students from New Orleans. Online courses and college credit transfers are being implemented. Not only does this allow students to continue their education but also it keeps the money following to the colleges and their full time enrollment level up.The analogy of institutions as living organisms is a fair one and if thought about makes them more predictable. This predictability makes it easier for us to adapt as these large powerful ˜creatures” try to enhance their survival.

Think Global – Act Local!

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