President Steenkamp: Better disaster response

As much as we wish for a season where we set aside some of the heaviness of the pandemic, there are still many issues calling for our attention.

This summer, two of those hit close to home: a record-breaking heat wave and devastating wildfires that continue to burn across our province. The impact of each of these events on so many BC communities is heartbreaking.

In my video this week, I talk with the former program head for our MA in Disaster and Emergency Management program, Dr. Jean Slick. Dr. Slick was recently interviewed about resilience and planning for large-scale disasters by The New York Times. I really appreciate her thoughts about optimism and resilience, and what each of us can do to help find solutions for large-scale disasters.

Importantly, Dr. Slick encourages us to reframe our view of events – noting there are no natural disasters, only natural hazards. The good news is, we can choose to work individually, and together to reduce the risk.

Humans have great capacity for problem solving, and that is one of my favourite things about learning from my colleagues and students at Royal Roads. There are things that are in our control, even when situations may seem out of control.

If you would like to help, the United Way and the Canadian Red Cross are accepting donations to help people and wildlife affected by fires in BC.