Plenary Sessions

Making the (Moral) Case for Mitigation

Monday, July 10, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. MDT

Natural hazard mitigation saves. Rigorous cost-benefit analyses and influential report after report has shown that mitigation makes sound economic sense. But equitable risk reduction efforts also make moral sense for society. Mitigation is about more than preserving the monetary worth of investments. Mitigation activities, at their core, also involve expressions of what and who we value and how we protect current and future generations. Panelists in this opening plenary session will make the case that mitigating hazards represents an ethical imperative, as they also address how science can inform decisions for the people and places most exposed to hazard risk.

Measure What Matters—Social Vulnerability, Equity, and Planning for Resilience

Tuesday, July 11, 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. MDT

In this plenary session, local and state government program managers will share how they have integrated and measured social vulnerability and equity in resilience and recovery planning. Panelists will draw on case studies that to show how they have taken sometimes abstract concepts and operationalized them in rural economic resilience planning, a community-integrated grid resiliency grant program, a new state fee-based disaster mitigation grant program, and after the 2021 Marshall Fire. The panel will also highlight tools and approaches for helping communities more equitably plan for climate impacts before they happen. This session will ultimately consider what we measure, why it matters, and how we move beyond simple metrics to those that truly engage and support people who are disproportionately impacted by disaster.

State of Emergency—Resource Commitments and Compassion in an Age of Extremes

Tuesday, July 11, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. MDT

Emergency managers are grappling with how to prepare for a seemingly unending and rapidly expanding list of threats: climate catastrophe, global pandemic, cyberattack, and mass shootings, to name only a few. In addition, a spate of interlocking issues—ranging from housing affordability and homelessness, drug addiction, lack of available mental health care, and migrant resettlement—have generated local emergency declarations and have raised questions about how the emergency management apparatus operates in an age of environmental extremes and extreme inequality. This plenary panel will feature emergency managers from some of our nation’s largest cities who are working to effectively respond to compounding social and environmental disasters. Speakers will draw on their experiences to illustrate how ethical commitments influence compassionate emergency planning and response.

Ethical Obligations to Current and Future Generations of the Natural Hazards Workforce

Wednesday, July 12, 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. MDT

As communities experience an unprecedented number of extreme disasters, we have an ethical obligation to prepare current and future generations of researchers and practitioners for the work that lies ahead. As this closing plenary will showcase, these challenging times provide opportunities to lead by example and offer hands-on experience to students and members of the natural hazards workforce. Join this session to learn more about mentoring programs and training activities designed to prepare hazards professionals while also providing technical assistance in socially marginalized and at-risk communities across states, tribal regions, and the U.S. territories.

View Full Schedule