Gulf Oil Spill, Haiti Earthquake Among Topics at CU-Boulder's Natural Hazards Workshop July 10-13

Published: July 1, 2010

The social impacts of the Gulf oil spill and the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake are among the topics to be addressed at the annual workshop of the University of Colorado at Boulder's Natural Hazards Center July 10-13.

Andrew Revkin, who writes the Dot Earth blog for The New York Times, will give the keynote address on Sunday, July 11, from 9:15 to 10 a.m. Revkin is one of the country's most respected and influential communicators on climate change and other global environmental issues.

The 35th annual workshop will bring together about 400 emergency managers, government officials, insurers and academic experts who work to prepare for, prevent or respond to extreme events such as hurricanes, great earthquakes and wildfires. The workshop will be held at the Omni Hotel in Broomfield and is not open to the public.

On Sunday, July 11, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, a plenary session will discuss three reports on climate change recently released by the National Academy of Sciences in "America's Climate Choices: The 2010 National Research Council Reports." The reports focus on strategies for limiting the impacts of climate change and for adapting to climate change. Panelists include individuals who contributed to each of the reports and the co-chair of the committee integrating findings across all four reports, with one report yet to be released.

On Monday, July 12, from 8:30 to 10 a.m., a plenary session will take a multidisciplinary look at the Jan. 12 Haiti earthquake that was the most devastating disaster to strike the Western Hemisphere in recorded history. In proportion to the size of the nation's population, it also was the deadliest disaster of modern times. Panelists will include individuals who have done research in Haiti following the catastrophe.

On Tuesday, July 13, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, panelists will address "It's Just Beginning: Social Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Technological Disasters to Come." Research on earlier environmental disasters indicates that the social and cultural impacts will continue long after the oil stops flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. Panelists will provide up-to-date information on the effects of the spill and put the Deepwater Horizon event into a broader context of other oil spills and major technological disasters, both past and future.

The Natural Hazards Center, part of CU-Boulder's Institute of Behavioral Science, is funded by a consortium of agencies including the National Science Foundation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. For more information, visit the center's Web site at