Path to Zero
Path to Zero
3.13 - Climate Disaster Preparedness with Columbia’s Jeffrey Schlegelmilch

In a far-reaching conversation, Tucker covers climate disaster preparedness, microgrids and grid resiliency with Jeffrey Schlegelmilch, Research Scholar and the Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

Schlegelmilch has advised leaders on preparedness systems and policy at various levels of government, including testifying before Congress earlier this year on disaster preparedness funding.

He’s the author of the book, Rethinking Readiness: A Brief Guide to Twenty-First-Century Megadisasters.

Rethinking Readiness

In his book, Schlegelmilch provides a new perspective on the major threats and vulnerabilities facing modern society. He explores extreme but plausible scenarios of some of the most existential threats we face—biological catastrophe, cyber infrastructure collapse, and other civilization-altering events—providing a straightforward account of what could be in store for us if we fail to invest in prevention and mitigation.

Schlegelmilch says in some ways, we have gotten better to responding to disasters when you look at metrics of lives lost.

“We’re not very good at recovery and getting folks back on their feet,” Schlegelmilch tells Tucker. “We’re better in areas that are highly visible. Take Hurricane Katrina as an example. Bourbon street versus the lower ninth ward. It’s a very uneven experience when we look at preparedness and I think we really have to look at that.”