The Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) brought together a great panel at Mount Royal University (MRU) this past week. The symposium focused on fostering community resilience in a dynamic risk environment. Presentations highlighted innovations and trends in the field of disaster risk management with a specific emphasis on how communities and organizations can actively practice the “consciousness of resilience.”

Panelists included Desiree (Desi) Matel-Anderson, Ph.D and her presentation on Innovating for Resilient Communities. This included storytelling and the use of drones over mudslides for long-term recovery and art in relief efforts for aid workers. During her tenure at FEMA, Desi led the first innovation team down to Hurricane Sandy to provide real-time problem solving in disaster response and recovery.

Matt Godsoe, Ph.D expanded upon Disaster Trends and the Push for Innovation profiling Canada’s disaster risk, and the frequency and severity of escalating incidents. His presentation covered known and emerging trends, as well as the growing impetus to engage innovative new voices in the disaster space. As a Defence Scientist, and Manager of the Natural Hazards Research Portfolio, his main research interests focus on building community resilience to complex threats and hazards.

Finally, Ron Kuban, Ph.D. helped us in Reaching a “Consciousness of Resilience”. Resilience being a relatively new found term, but not a new concept. We were challenged to learn to integrate, collaborate, and advance the many components of “resilience” into public-facing and broadly-practiced “consciousness of resilience”. Ron has served with Canada’s Department of National Defence, the federal government, and the provincial government of Alberta. He has an extensive list of publications and in May 2011 was a member of the Canadian Delegation to Geneva for the UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The panel discussion was moderated by Timothy J. Haney, Ph.D who is the founding Director of the Mount Royal’s Centre for Community Disaster Research. Dr. Haney is also Associate Professor of Sociology at MRU. His research and teaching expertise are in the sociology of disaster, environmental sociology, and urban sociology. He is currently engaged in two federally-funded projects related to the 2013 Southern Alberta flood.

Tim provided grounds for conversation and debate as the group discussed how all levels of government, community organizations, and private businesses can integrate disaster risk reduction and resilience-planning into their everyday practice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *