Climatically Challenged

Hope is not a strategy, they say, which means we are left with our wits to figure out how we will carry on in a world of increasing extreme weather disruptions. How will we respond to increasing levels of climate change induced risk? How can we possibly answer the seemingly sudden call for development strategies that are both durable and sustainable?

At the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, 2022 President Leslie Rouda Smith has made sustainability one of her top priorities for the organization, which is ramping up activity based on its 10-year Sustainability Plan. For more on NAR’s sustainability efforts visit,

Aerial view of Chattanooga, TN

Courtesy of Kevin Ruck

Of course, the impacts of extreme weather are extraordinarily varied. Ranging from drought in some areas to an overabundance of water in other areas. Too, some impacts are sudden, such as the total destruction of a town by tornado or wildfire, while other impacts are of the slow-motion, train-wreck variety, such as the increasing warmth.

To be sure, this challenge can feel overwhelming but inside the pages of this edition of On Common Ground, there are signs of hope, signs that we are well on our way to figuring out how to live in, and respond to, a world whose weather is, at times, literally throwing more at us.

This collection of articles touches on sustainable development solutions, how to deliver the benefits equitably, and options for paying the extraordinary costs associated with creating the protection we need.

Responding to specific types of extreme weather impact are investigated in articles examining what to do if your community has too little water and what to do if it has too much. At the extreme or extreme weather, we explore how a community can recover from total destruction with two examples, one recent and one a decade and a half in the rearview mirror. It is troubling to contemplate, but we now have enough experience with such situations that strategies and best practices are starting to emerge; indeed, a cottage industry has formed.

Lastly, we explore a deep dive into the buying and selling of real estate, both commercial and residential. What do buyers look for in a property? How does one kick the tires on a structure whose most weather-challenging days may be ahead of it?

Within a short period of time, we have learned a lot about how to cope, if not thrive, in a climate-challenged world. No doubt this is a topic which we will be able to revisit with some frequency with reports of technique and technology which are enabling us to transform our landscape to be both functional and durable for us and future generations.

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About On Common Ground

A free, semi-annual magazine published by NAR, On Common Ground presents a wide range of views on smart growth issues, with the goal of encouraging dialog among REALTORS®, elected officials, and other interested citizens.

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