Heather Johnson

Whidbey Island, WA, USA
December 21, 2017

Impacts from disaster—environmental, political, economic—hold within them two distinct time horizons.

Time horizon one: the days just following a shocking event, when day-to-day life is disrupted and many people frequently experience the power of community coming together, being there for one another, facing hard circumstances with one another with integrity, care, and inspiring strength.

And then there is time horizon two: the long period after that window of grace, when exhaustion sinks in, disparate needs clash, and the circumference of care shrinks to "one's own," however the definition of one's own is determined. Grief, shock, and trauma impact our ability to interact with one another, care for ourselves, or build for our future. Without conscious and committed leadership in this time horizon, decay and further deterioration are the norm.

How do we nurture the conditions under which the second time horizon can be a time of uplift, creativity, connection, and building anew? Conditions that engage leadership throughout a community, not setting communities up to rely on hoped-for heroes to come to the rescue?

AfterNow shares principles and approaches for nurturing such conditions, showing what is possible when communities face their hardest moments together, for the long haul. AfterNow shows us that the work of preparing for disaster goes far beyond preparing just for the first time horizon of staying alive after a severe disruption, but working for a future we want to live FOR.

I am grateful for this timely work from Dr. Stilger.