As the Natural Hazards Center closed its annual Workshop for the 42nd time, one thing was clear: It is more important than ever to transform all we’ve learned into actions that make a difference—and everyone of us has not only the capacity to do that, but also the responsibility.
That message was heard again and again during the four-day event, which was held in Broomfield, Colorado from July 9-12. While the theme of knowledge to action was built into the event, the idea that each individual needs to take action surfaced in the very first sessions.
“The work you do is too important to sit on the shelf,” said the Seattle Times’ Sandi Doughton in the opening plenary about communicating knowledge. “If you don’t want that to happen, then you need to become better communicators and better storytellers.”
Doughton’s co-panelist Rong-Gong Lin II, of the Los Angeles Times put the need to communicate what we know more succinctly.
“I want to impress on you that you have a moral responsibility,” he said. “You are the ones with the knowledge.”
With more than 500 people from multiple countries, disciplines, practices, and professional levels participating in a range of conversations on diverse topics, knowledge was certainly abundant. So was passion, commitment, and enthusiasm.
Session topics ranged from flood insurance reform to the role of culture in community resilience, to initiatives that promote action and much more. We discussed the impermanence of political will, our current unrealistic reality, and the importance of gender perspectives in addressing disaster. There was much talk about needs—the need for more science, more funding, more communication, more time.
In fact, there was such a robust exchange of information that we couldn’t possibly list it all here. So stay tuned to the Natural Hazards website and publications in the coming weeks as we bring you more information on the results of these discussions, the many resources shared by attendees, and more on what we can all do to take action.