“Resilience” is a hot topic these days — not in self-help books, but among policymakers worldwide. As governments become convinced that climate change is a real threat, they are taking steps to ensure communities can bounce back from the increasing impact of floods, storms, fires and droughts they will likely face in coming years.

In December 2013, Japanese lawmakers passed the Basic Law for National Resilience. Spurred by the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami — and the threat of even worse if anything similar occurs in Tokyo — they established a centralized “control tower” to identify and eliminate weaknesses in everything from skyscraper foundations to transportation networks to the energy supply.

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