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EM Holiday Gift Books

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Happy Winter Solstice!

We in the EM field have long recognized that one of the confounding challenges to our profession is getting the public to pay attention to the disaster threats that they face. Even as the hurricane is bearing down, there are those that prefer to hold a party than to run. So as we cruise into the final few days of the holiday season, perhaps you are still in need of a gift or two that says: 'This is what I do, and this is why you should consider it important.'

Let's say, for example, that you live in Seattle. Recently, you've been distracted by flooding rains, but you know that the greatest danger that your public is likely to face in the future is from an earthquake. In that case, consider:

Full-rip 9.0: the next big earthquake in the Pacific Northwest by Sandi Doughton.

"Seattle Times reporter Sandi Doughton draws the reader into in-depth science—science that says it’s a matter of if, not when, a big quake will strike—with vivid stories of the scientists behind the data. ...From the schools that will be shaken to the leaky tanks and Columbia Generating Station nuclear plant at Hanford that will feel the earth move, Full Rip 9.0 is terrifying in its implications, yet an entertaining read." --Eugene Weekly

Or perhaps as a water manager in California, you've been trying to get the area's attention with respect to the fact that the area's only water supply is draining fast and there are no alternatives. Then consider:

The West without water: What past floods, droughts, and other climatic clues tell us about tomorrow by B. Lynn Ingram and Frances Malamud-Roam.

“Ingram and Malamud-Roam’s book presents a remarkable mix of science, paleoclimatology, history, and poetic writing, telling the story of water in the West and how it is intimately tied to the Earth’s varying climate. The authors vividly remind us of two things: first, society ignores the lessons of past climatic extremes at our peril, and second, we can no longer assume that the past is a reliable guide to the future, as human influence over the climate grows. The climate is changing, and our relationship to it must change as well. This book tells us how.” —Peter Gleick

Maybe you're from South Florida, and you've noticed that water rising around the ankles of your served public hasn't gotten their attention quite yet. In that case, gift:

High tide on main street: Rising sea level and the coming coastal crisis by John Englander.

"Did you know that...

  • Sea level will rise for at least 1,000 years.
  • Shorelines will shift significantly by 2050.
  • Property values may start to decline this decade.

Rising sea level is the most profound long-term aspect of climate change. Yet, the public is almost completely unaware of the magnitude of the problem. For three million years sea level regularly moved up and down almost 400 feet with the ice age cycles. Now, after 6,000 years of minimal change, we are entering a new era of rapid sea level rise. In clear, easy-to-understand language, this book explains:
* The science behind sea level rise, plus the myths and partial truths used to confuse the issue.
* The surprising forces that will cause sea level to rise for 1,000 years, as well as the possibility of catastrophic rise this century.
* Why the devastating economic effects will not be limited to the coasts.
* Why coastal property values will go “underwater” long before the land does, perhaps as early as this decade.
* Five points of 'intelligent adaptation' that can help individuals, businesses, and communities protect investments now and in the future." --Amazon Product Description

If nothing else, these gifts and others like them will cement your reputation as a clear-eyed realist that wants only the best for your fellow citizens. Although you may also earn the titles of 'Gloomy Gus' or 'Dour Dorothy'--if you manage to educate just one person, and that results in a catastrophe averted, then it will all have been worthwhile.

Joyous Holiday Season to all from the folks at EDM Digest! Have a wonderful and prosperous (and safe) New Year!

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Randall Cuthbert Dr. Randall Cuthbert is a retired APUS Professor of Emergency & Disaster Management. He has also worked as a Red Cross Shelter Supervisor, and spent a 20-year career as a US Air Force Civil Engineer Officer. His blogging interests include: protecting & enhancing the EDM profession in the areas of integrity, honorable public service, and social justice; education regarding the 'big picture' role of EDM in our society; educating our professionals and neighbors with regard to the greatest threat to our civilization--climate change; and in general terms, creating a better world for our children and grandchildren.