Ensuring there are always
How will our businesses continue to operate when a road is blocked, when the power goes out in the CBD or when staff
are unwell? How will our cities continue to operate when we can't
afford to travel or the bus and rail infrastructure breaks down? We need to have an alternative. And we
need to ensure that our suppliers of power, water and telecommunications
also have (or can provide) alternatives for when their networks break
There is a clear alternative to the transport network. It
is an alternative that has proven its ability to deliver financial and
many other benefits, even before change makes it essential. This
alternative is simply to make travel, the movement of people,
unnecessary (as far as possible).
For national and local government this means
promoting telework and telecommuting so that more people and businesses
can continue to work without relying on a network of roads, or rail
lines. It also means better urban, suburban and peri-urban design and
For employers it means making
telework (working from home
or near home instead of travelling) available and effective for as many
staff as possible. It also means making more use of audio- and
video-conferencing technologies and less use of expensive face-to-face
meetings. And it means managers might have to rediscover what it means
to trust their staff...
For individuals it means getting used to e-shopping and
e-banking. It also means pressuring employers to allow and support more
working from home. (We have prepared
that could assist.).
However, individuals and individual companies can't always
develop their own alternatives to the power, water or telecommunications
networks. We can collect rainwater, install solar and wind power
options, and maintain alternative energy sources for cooking and heating
(BBQs, fireplaces, etc.) and running our businesses (generators). But we probably need our governments to
provide more direction to, and exert more control over, our utility
providers to ensure that they have alternatives available at all times.
And when a really major change occurs, we all need to know
and work within our local communities to
find our own alternatives.
Although this web page is primarily concerned with
ensuring that you have flexible alternatives when they are needed, there
is a strong overlap with being 'sustainable'. Many of the things that
help us become more sustainable can also help us to become more
flexible. Check out:
The Sustainable Living Centre
The New Zealand Government has published a guide to
Business Continuity Planning,
with particular relevance to pandemics. However, some of the points made
would be relevant to many possible threats.