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Cascading Hazards: Are They the New Canary in the Coal Mine?

The extreme bitter cold wave event during Valentine’s week in February 2021 produced record low temperatures in the central United States, with deep freezes affecting more than 50 million people. Temperatures were at subzero readings as far south as Oklahoma City. In Texas, the most impacted state, the Valentine’s winter outbreak produced snow, ice, and …

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Pandemic Fatigue

It has been nearly a year since the first known COVID-19 case appeared in Washington State.  We have individually and collectively had our ups and downs—initially taking recommendations for stay at home seriously, utilizing protective actions such as face coverings and social distancing—but as time wore on, the breadth and depth of the ensuring pandemic …

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The Western Inferno: Extreme Event or the New Normal?

Human activity fundamentally alter the Earth’s physical systems such as the atmosphere, while at the same time it increases development and settlement density in high-hazard areas (floodplains, coasts) thus amplifying the exposure and vulnerability of people who live there.  Another change is the prevalence of compound or cascading threats and associated impacts of events which …

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The End of the World??

Doomsday advocates are having a field day claiming the end of days are near with the four horsemen of the apocalypse arriving on the door step—Famine, war, pestilence, and death. Certainly 2020 is a year like no other. The coronavirus continues its toll in the U.S., cases slowing in some regions, while increasing in others. …

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The Value and Sanctity of Data in Emergency Management

How can you effectively manage a response to a disaster if you don’t have adequate information and data to monitor the situation, determine the best course of action, implement the action, and adjust based on changes in data and information?  Data are the raw facts or observations about what is occurring.  Information is the contextualized …

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Double and Now Triple Exposures

The classic book, Environmental Change and Globalization: Double Exposures, by Robin Leichenko and Karen O’Brien explore how interactions between climate change and globalization intersect to create mounting human insecurity through increasing vulnerabilities, burgeoning inequalities, and unsustainable development and landscapes. The double exposure in the book is the community concurrently experiencing the negative impacts of climate …

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It is Time to Reflect

This past week has been difficult for many of us as we watch the fabric of American society stretched to its limits. The pandemic with stay at home orders and subsequent economic shutdown are a faint memory, now replaced by peaceful demonstrations in the streets responding to racial biases and brutality in our law enforcement …

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Presidential Disaster Declarations and the Politics of Need

We have already seen two named tropical storms and hurricane season has not officially begun and many are worried about how local and state governments will be able to respond to disasters and provide assistance to those most in need.  The history of emergency management in the U.S. culminated in 1988, when Congress passed the …

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What Is White Privilege and How Does it Relate to Disasters?

The disproportionate impact of disasters on communities of color is well-known and extensively studied within the broader disasters field.  Whether under the guise of environmental justice, climate justice, or social vulnerability, the examination of unequal consequences and impacts of disasters as well as inequities in preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation, tell the story of a …

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