In this National Academies lecture, Professor J. Marshall Shepherd addresses the vulnerabilities of both natural and social environments.
In the specter of climate change and marginalized and vulnerable population, Dr. Shepherd focuses on communities of color, children, low-income communities, and the elderly.
His lecture draws attention to how hurricane Ida emphasized the hazard problems marginalized communities faced. He advocates for stronger public engagement on these issues because sharing his data analysis with other scholars, he says, is not enough to change the systems and behaviors that cause things like irreparable basement apartment floods. He wants his audience to think about getting public and private sectors to secure funding so that in the event of natural hazards, people of low-income and/or lack of personal resources can still leave or fix their conditions.
Dr. Shepherd expresses a population’s vulnerability as an equation that considers its hazards, exposure, and vulnerability and compares it to the population’s resilience to ultimately determine the population’s risk. He explains ways to close the climate and weather gap, including reducing emissions, increasing adaptation, ensuring mitigation and other policies are benefiting everyone in the communities they affect, and educating marginal populations about their vulnerabilities.On an infrastructure level, Dr. Shepherd explains the possibilities of engineering for thermal justice. He provides a candid story about getting innovative projects for cities funded for studying and pushed forward.
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