The Problem with Offering Flood Insurance Subsidies

Flood insurance is always on point. I had a letter in The Columbia Flier on the value of mitigation vis-à-vis flood insurance subsidies in Ellicott City, Maryland. The letter does not seem to be in the online edition, so here it is. Also, why do newspaper editors like to turn every sentence into its own paragraph? In the July 20th edition, Michael W. Roth argued that the County should consider flood insurance subsidies for Ellicott City. (“Examine flood insurance subsidies for Ellicott City,” Letters) While I am sure Mr. Roth is well-intentioned, insurance subsidies would cause more problems than they

Learn How to Prepare for a Tsunami

For an article on, Margot Bigg writes about how to respond in an earthquake or a tsunami. Learn my recommendations there: What It’s Like to Evacuate for a Tsunami I experienced my first earthquake when I was 11 years old. I was spending the night at my best friend’s house, and in the early hours of dawn I woke up to the nonstop screams of her older sister, who had been sleeping in the next room. Remember, especially in an earthquake, the folk wisdom of moving to a doorway is counterproductive! Image by Hector Garcia / Flickr.

Chernobyl’s Liquidators

At this moment, thirty years ago, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near Pripyat, Ukraine, suffered a “catastrophic power increase,” commonly called a meltdown, that killed 31 people. This post is not to retell the story of Chernobyl. A magnificant 2006 documentary, The Battle of Chernobyl tells the story well enough and it has been uploaded to YouTube numerous times: One part of the story that still amazes me is the story of the Chernobyl Liquidators. The initial explosion shot radioactive debris for miles. An area known as the “Zone of Alienation” is contaminated, the area will be access controlled for

Coping with Disaster at Springer

For those of you who don’t know, Springer will be publishing my new book on flood insurance pretty much any minute now. In fact, it is already on SpringerLink. And that’s kind of cool. To commemorate the March 11, 2011 Earthquake, Springer has made an extensive series of articles, books, and chapters available for free under the heading Coping with Disaster. The collection provides information on individuals, PTSD, business response, environmental effects, and a lot more. If you’ve done some work on any of these things, there’s something here for you. Image by M.O. Stevens / Wikimedia Commons.

What to Do When Tornados Strike

Roomi, a website connecting potential roommates, has just opened up services in Texas. To help renters in Texas prepare for the worst, Emma Goddard interviewed me about how to prepare for a tornado: With a less than shiny reputation for its weather, Texas might have you running for the hills. But whether you’re already living in the Lone Star State or you’re moving to there in the near future (as so many are), you have no choice but to cope with Mother Nature’s wrath. Luckily, preparation is your best bet to surviving any home disaster — whether it’s a fire,

Tyler’s Paper on the Advantages of Sustainable Mitigation

There’s a great article by Jenna Tyler at IUPUI (who doesn’t have a website?) on how to use green infrastructure for sustainable mitigation. The key take away is that FEMA could use smarter funding for hazard mitigation, and create naturally resilient mitigation options. You can read it in the current issue of Consilience. 2016: Issue Sixteen An online, open-access, interdisciplinary journal of sustainable development, run by students of Columbia University. Image by Balaji / Wikimedia. That’s not very sustainable.