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mary lou zoback

Increasing resilience: A national imperative

Over the past several years, the concept of resilience has increasingly captured public attention. Even fitness clubs are advertising resilience to get you in the best shape of your life — able to handle anything that comes your way. The same resiliency that helps individuals — being mentally, physically and financially prepared, and having a disaster-recovery plan — applies to communities and even to nations. In August, a committee of the National Resource Council (NRC) of the National Academies released a report in which the authors looked at how communities can increase their resilience to natural disaster. The committee outlined a plan for becoming more resilient over the next two decades, but that work must begin today.

18 Nov 2012

Crystal Ball EARTH: Natural Hazards: Reducing society's risks

The global financial disaster of 2009 has many parallels with catastrophic natural hazards. It struck pretty much without warning, its impact was greatly exacerbated by an incredibly complex system of cascading consequences, and finally, mechanisms supposedly in place to mitigate the worse impacts (regulations, in the case of the financial system) failed. There was awareness that such a meltdown could theoretically occur, but it was considered such a low-probability event that it was evidently not worth planning for.

11 Dec 2009