Transition Brockville archive

Tag : Emergency preparedness (39)

Why a “modern” can’t understand the risks we face

Resource Insights / Kurt Cobb / 08 May 2016

Mandelpart2_redPROCIn my previous piece, I discussed why it is useless to argue with a person clinging to what I called the “religion” of modernism. I summarized four main tenets of the modern outlook as follows:

  1. Humans are in one category and nature is in another.
  2. Scale doesn’t matter.
  3. History can be safely ignored since modern society has seen through the delusions of the past.
  4. Science is a unified, coherent field that explains the rational principles by which we can manage the physical world.

These assumptions make modern humans particularly susceptible to becoming captives of the bell curve. Our understanding of risk is mediated by a misleading picture of regularity in the physical world and in human society. Moderns believe that nearly all risks–and certainly the nontrivial ones relating to our survival as species–can be easily calculated and managed.


How close are you to oil trains and a derailment disaster?

Oil Train Blast Zone


City hosts emergency-preparedness session

CKWS Newswatch / 22 March 2016

Scott Davis/City of Kingston: “We know that severe weather, extreme events, is increasing in frequency, we know that the possibilities of transportation emergency, whether it be 401, rail is high on our risk analysis, so we want to be prepared for those.”


City’s fire chief talks about emergency preparedness

Transition Brockville / 19 February 2016

2013-14 Ghislain-PigeonAre you ready to survive for the three days it can take your municipality to provide you with help in a major area emergency?

Think of the ice storm of 1998, which cut power to a vast region from Kingston to Montreal, from four or five days in Brockville’s case to as much as a month elsewhere.

Brockville Fire Chief Ghislain Pigeon, the city’s emergency management co-ordinator, will talk about the roles of citizens and their municipalities in preparing for emergencies, in the next of Transition Brockville’s public presentation series.

Weather-related events, such as a multi-day snowstorm that shuts down Highway 401 for days, or major power outages are the most likely emergencies in our area, says the chief, but there is always the possibility of a disaster relating to the tons of hazardous materials that cross our city and region by railcar, truck and pipeline every day.

“There are three train derailments a week in Canada,” he says, acknowledging that few are as devastating as the derailment and fire at Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, in 2013. However, the city must be prepared for such an emergency.

[ more… ]

Climate change and El Nino drove disasters worldwide in 2015

UNISDR / 11 February 2016

2015 disastersThe hottest year on record, 2015, has confirmed that weather and climate-related disasters now dominate disaster trends linked to natural hazards, according to a new analysis presented today.

The top five most disaster-hit countries in 2015 were China (26), USA (22), India (19), Philippines (15) and Indonesia (11).

The head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Robert Glasser, said: “We have come through the hottest year on record. 98.6 million people were affected by disasters last year and climate often aided by a strong El Niño was a factor in 92% of those events. The most obvious impact was the 32 major droughts recorded which was more than double the ten-year annual average. These affected 50.5 million people and many have continued into this year particularly in Africa.

“The main message from this trends analysis is that reducing greenhouse gases and adapting to climate change is vital for countries seeking to reduce disaster risk now and in the future.”


How to survive a global disaster: a handy guide

The Guardian / Keith Stuart / 10 February 2016

The DivisionThese days we’re spoiled for choice in terms of potential catastrophes. Natural and ecological disasters, nuclear weapons, terrorism, experimental technological accidents (“Oops, we’ve accidentally created Skynet”) – they’re all in the game. In 2008 a group of experts met at an Oxford University conference and suggested that there was a 19% chance of a global catastrophic event before 2100 (with super intelligent AI and molecular nanotechnology weapons at the top of the threat list). It was just a bit of fun, and they added plenty of caveats to that figure, but still, something to think about, eh?

With all this in mind, the Guardian spoke to the academic and author Nafeez Ahmed, who has studied global crises and mass violence, and recently advised Ubisoft on the authenticity of its post-pandemic video game, The Division. We asked him, in the event that society collapses, what should we do. Here’s what he suggested.


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The Transition Framework

Resilience is the ability of a system or community to withstand impacts from outside. An indicator is a good way of measuring that. Conventionally, the principal way of measuring a reducing carbon footprint is CO2 emissions. However, we firmly believe that cutting carbon while failing to build resilience is an insufficient response when you’re trying to address multiple shocks such as peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis together.

— Transition U.S.
TB Projects

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