Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Diligence, Not Despair

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Diligence, Not Despair

Article excerpt

As 2015 draws to a close, many of us have disaster on the brain. At a time when we already long to be close to the ones we love, celebrating and enjoying the bounty of the holiday season, we're lately even more compelled to draw our friends and families closer.

As of press time, we're little more than a week past the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris that killed at least 130 people and wounded dozens more. In the western United States, a storm system that brought whiteout conditions to highways in Colorado threatened to inflict damaging tornadoes on Texas and points east. This coming winter, a strong El Nino weather system is expected to heavily influence weather and climate patterns in ways we cannot solidly predict.

In all these instances, municipal services--often and particularly park and recreation agencies--may be called on to help citizens survive and cope with disaster. Our parks, sports fields and community centers are where we gather in the best of times to feel a deep sense of connection, support and freedom--that's why it hurts us so deeply to see sports events and cultural celebrations attacked by terrorists.

It's why Manhattan Beach Parks and Recreation's Idris Al-Oboudi was so shaken when an earthquake struck his community, as author Sarah Thompson discusses in our cover feature, starting on page 40. When our safest-feeling spaces are attacked, either by man or nature, it is, indeed, a "shake-up call," as Al-Oboudi puts it. Disaster is a painful motivator for preparedness, but, as Thompson details, park and recreation agencies are well-placed to be on the front lines of support should disaster strike. …

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