Exploring how disaster resilience is understood and developed on the local level is critical as we face an increasingly complex intersection of risk posed by climate, technological, and public health hazards.

Climate change has heightened the threats we face from natural hazards – storms are more intense and unpredictable, cycles of drought and flooding are more pronounced, and sea level rise is climbing. At the same time, humans interact with natural systems in ways that create technological and public health crises, ranging from barge collisions and oil spills to the spread of diseases like COVID-19. Given our highly connected social-ecological systems, the reverberations of these detrimental interactions are felt on global to local scales. Therefore, it is imperative for communities of all sizes and composition to develop their capacities to deal with disturbances and in extreme (but not too infrequent) cases, disasters. I’m a professor at Texas A&M University at Galveston, and my research explores how we can develop disaster resilience on the local level by unpacking how people perceive and experience hazards and how communities develop capacities for resilience. What have I found? Resilience is complex – there’s no one-size-fits-all; people understand disaster resilience in very different ways; political and social identities affect environmental attitudes and behavior in response to disasters; and our interactions with science and information may have very important consequences for how we view hazards and take action to reduce risk. Explore more about my research by clicking on the links above. If what you see is of interest, please reach out to me! I’d welcome the opportunity to chat about it.

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Ashley D. Ross

Texas A&M University at Galveston

Department of Marine & Coastal Environmental Science