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Excerpt from Inside Climate News

In remote villages on Lombok, a rugged Indonesian island east of Bali, resilience to global warming means figuring out how to maintain water and food supplies through longer droughts punctuated by extreme rainstorms, and adapting to warming and rising seas that affect crucial fisheries.

The residents of the island are not relying on technology or engineering solutions in their preparations, at least for now. Instead, they have built a network of local leaders who know the environmental conditions and who can identify the strengths and weaknesses of their communities, down to the neighborhood level.

And that grassroots approach has proved doubly useful. Since March it has enabled Lombok to meet the challenges of another crisis: the global coronavirus pandemic. Lombok has been better prepared than other island communities in the region, showing how climate resiliency can help society with a wider range of challenges.

The successful resiliency efforts on Lombok may hold lessons for a world in which more than 50 million people have been simultaneously affected by climate disasters—floods, droughts, hurricanes—and by Covid-19. Grassroots preparedness and local leaders who know local conditions, experts say, are key to helping communities withstand the combined disruptions of a changing climate and a global pandemic.

“We know that preparation has prevented the pandemic from spreading, and that is the best indication of why resilience work is so important,” said Kate Schecter, president of World Neighbors, a nonprofit community development organization that guided the resilience work on Lombok. “Even though Jakarta and Bali are still hot spots, we have been able to allow our communities on Lombok to resume working, with all the appropriate precautions.”

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