A Brief Guide to Twenty-First-Century Megadisasters
by Jeff Schlegelmilch, Foreword by Irwin Redlener
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Pub Date 14 Jul 2020 | Archive Date 21 Oct 2020
As human society continues to develop, we have increased the risk of large-scale disasters. From health care to infrastructure to national security, systems designed to keep us safe have also heightened the potential for catastrophe. The constant pressure of climate change, geopolitical conflict, and our tendency to ignore what is hard to grasp exacerbates potential dangers. How can we prepare for and prevent the twenty-first-century disasters on the horizon?
Rethinking Readiness offers an expert introduction to human-made threats and vulnerabilities, with a focus on opportunities to reimagine how we approach disaster preparedness. Jeff Schlegelmilch identifies and explores the most critical threats facing the world today, detailing the dangers of pandemics, climate change, infrastructure collapse, cyberattacks, and nuclear conflict. Drawing on the latest research from leading experts, he provides an accessible overview of the causes and potential effects of these looming megadisasters. The book highlights the potential for building resilient, adaptable, and sustainable systems so that we can be better prepared to respond to and recover from future crises. Thoroughly grounded in scientific and policy expertise, Rethinking Readiness is an essential guide to this century’s biggest challenges in disaster management.
Jeff Schlegelmilch is the deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He previously worked for the Yale New Haven Health System Center for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response and the Boston Public Health Commission.
Irwin Redlener is the director and founder of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute. He is also a professor at the Mailman School of Public Health and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and president emeritus and cofounder of the Children’s Health Fund. His books include The Future of Us: What the Dreams of Children Mean for Twenty-First-Century America (Columbia, 2017).
"Schlegelmilch provides a new perspective on the major threats and vulnerabilities facing modern society. Readers will find the discussion of megadisasters intriguing and the argument for better preparation compelling. Rethinking Readiness argues for a broader view of disasters and for a sustained effort to reduce the threats and societal vulnerability."
-William L. Waugh Jr., Professor Emeritus, Georgia State University
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 7 members
STOP THE PRESSES! This nonfiction book has a publishing date of July 14, 2020, and has already become outdated in the light of the current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. I would urge the publisher to postpone publishing this book 'as is' if at all possible until the crisis has ended, giving the author time to include it in this important and timely guide to preparing for megadisasters: to discuss what worked and what systems crumbled during the crisis, and what we could possibly do differently in the future to better prepare ourselves. Now THAT would be a terrific book!
Critical Infrastructure Failure
Investing in Today, Investing in Tomorrow
I received an arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my review.
It's a unique and unexpectedly timely coincidence for me to be reviewing a book that looks into twenty-first century megadisasters in the midst of a global pandemic. Rethinking Readiness takes a brief look into the history and current direction of disaster prepardness planning, and is due to be published in the summer; months after the world coming to grips with the chaos and fear of this current health crisis. The book provides an overview of biothreats, climate change, critical infrastructure, cyberthreats, nuclear conflict, and cross-cutting threats.
Will it fix the immediate crisis? No.
Is it still worthwhile to read? Yes.
Will it help to provide context for the current chaos? Yes, and I do wish this wasn't a brief guide but a deep comprehensive review. But that's not the goal of this slim volume. Schlegelmilch, in Rethinking Readiness, provides an approachable and understandable history to help us begin to reframe and strategize. Disaster science is still in its infancy and globalisation has completely changed the world we know. Covid-19 has implications that will be more far reaching than we can comprehend today. This book will help us begin to reframe our views.
An addendum: Schlegelmilch stated via Twitter on 03 April 2020 that he drafted a new preface to discuss the implications of Covid-19 & why its impacts will reach far beyond pandemics. I look forward to reading it when available.
There would be no better time than present to read such book which focuses on disasters.
As world tries to survive covid-19, this book is very timely description of various megadisasters which are quite possible in coming decades.
It discusses bio threats, superbugs, Infrastructure failures and climate change.
There are very interesting and recent examples of disasters and their impact.
There is also discussion about what can be done to survive these.
Book is short, Interesting and very informative.
It provides many things that can be learnt and leveraged upon in ever unstable ecological balance.
Thanks netgalley and publisher for review copy.