Plenary Sessions

The Realities We Face—Social Inequality and Natural Hazards in a Time of Pandemic

Mon. July 13 | 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. MDT

The first step in advancing active hope is to take a clear view of reality. This session will do exactly that by featuring a range of experts who will speak to the many compound hazards and cascading crises that we currently face. From the public health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, to ever-present natural hazard threats, many of the realities we face are grim. But people are also rising up and coming together to respond to deeply embedded social and racial inequalities—that, too, is part of our present reality. Each speaker will have ten minutes to share their perspective on our situation and convey their hopes for the future. The audience will also be invited to contribute their views on the present condition of our world.

Culturally Relevant, Community Guided, and Scientifically Informed—Setting a Vision for Action

Tue. July 14 | 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. MDT

The second step to advancing active hope is to identify what direction we want the world to move in or the values we want to see expressed in our communities. This session will feature speakers that have established a clear vision for transcending the boundaries that often separate science from society. The Rising Voices Center for Indigenous and Earth Sciences works to achieve culturally relevant and scientifically robust climate and weather actions through intercultural, relational, and collaborative work that brings together Indigenous knowledges and sciences with Earth sciences in a respectful and inclusive manner. Panelists will discuss ways to elevate the innovative solutions needed to activate hope for Indigenous and other communities that face the disproportionate toll of disaster.

Activating Hope in an Age of Extremes

Tue. July 14 | 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. MDT

The third step in advancing active hope is to take action to move ourselves or our situation in the direction we desire. This plenary session will feature grassroots recovery activists, civil rights advocates, and social policy researchers who have established a shared vision of more just and equitable outcomes before and after disaster. They have also demonstrated the power of collective action to achieve their goals. Panelists will describe how they worked with and alongside low-income households experiencing protracted and delayed disaster recovery after recent disasters. Their stories illuminate how active hope—as a process—can be inscribed in disaster research, practice, and policy.

Katrina@15—Looking Back to Move Forward

Wed. July 15 | 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. MDT

Hurricane Katrina remains one of the most fatal and damaging disasters in our national experience. Nearly 15 years later, as racial and economic inequality continue to imperil communities along the Gulf Coast and across the nation, it remains clear that if we want to reduce natural hazards losses we must work as fervently to reduce inequality and injustice in all its forms. Panelists in this final plenary session will discuss the truths Katrina revealed about our society and the time we live in and how those lessons can inform and transform disaster policy, planning, and response for a safer future and a better tomorrow.

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