Climate Resilience Can Elevate The Emergency Management Field
By Holly ManieOskoii
“Emergency Management is an art based in science.” (Chasity Schmelzenbach- Director, Noble County Emergency Management)
Knowledge of basic climate science and its impact is crucial for the field of emergency management.
Science tells us the effects of climate change are intensifying. Temperatures will rise, precipitation patterns will change, droughts and heatwaves, hurricanes will become stronger and more intense, and sea levels will rise. (https://climate.nasa.gov/effects) These atmospheric changes will directly impact every community's life, property, and operations.
The effects of climate change are starting: increased heatwaves, extreme storms, and heavy precipitation. 2021 broke many previous weather-related records while financially devastating communities. (https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-59761839)
Across the country, communities are creating plans, positions, and funding to address climate adaptation and resilience. FEMA’s strategic plan leads the emergency management field towards “Goal 2: Lead the whole community in climate resilience.”
This is a pivotal time for emergency management and adjacent fields to actively participate in climate resilience conversations and action. Active engagement in local climate resilience shifts away from the “response” only perception of emergency management. Contribution and participation in climate change action is the chance to further define the field and advocate for an understanding of the true scope and depth of emergency management and adjacent fields.
Historically, the controversy over whether climate change is man-made has distracted efforts in planning for its effects. Historically, climate adaptation has existed in the outer spheres of emergency management. Many of us have been hearing about climate change for years and have developed a desensitized apathy. The topic can be bleak or daunting; it’s easier to postpone action and attention.
“Climate change is the greatest challenge facing emergency managers today — and it will continue to shape the next several decades. To meet this challenge, the emergency management community must understand how climate change impacts the profession.” (FEMA 2022–2026 Strategic Plan Objective 2.1 - Increase Climate Literacy Among the Emergency Management Community)
“Increasing climate literacy of emergency managers and communities will improve disaster outcomes and long-term climate resilience through an increasingly shared understanding of climate risks and impactful mitigation opportunities.” (FEMA 2022–2026 Strategic Plan Objective 2.1)
The 2022 Leader’Speak webinar series is proud to focus on climate change for our emergency management, disaster, risk, public safety, security, and continuity audience.
This series highlights topics, stories, and speakers that foster learning on the intersection of emergency management and climate adaptation. These learning opportunities are easily accessible, interactive, and focused on providing high-quality content on relevant topics.
Leader’Speak webinars and registration: https://www.speaknspark.com/webinars
The next live webinar is on May 19th on Climate-Induced Migration and Relocation- a historical context related to the future of emergency management and disasters.
This learning opportunity will be led by SpeaknSpark speaker Patrick Marchman, an award-winning program manager and planner specializing in resilience, climate adaptation, climate risk, climate-induced relocation and managed retreat, hazard mitigation, environmental planning, and sustainability (https://www.speaknspark.com/speakers/291-patrick-marchman).
Join us on May 19th at 2 pm Eastern.
Register and save the event to your calendar: https://www.speaknspark.com/webinars
The August webinar will feature Samantha Montano and the “Intersection of Disasters and Climate Change.” In our final series in November, we plan on highlighting the story of a community and its successes and struggles in addressing climate adaptation.
Thank you to the supporters who have helped shape and develop this series!