“Green Dreams & Tumbleweeds In Greensburg, KS: A 15-Year Longitudinal Story on Post-Disaster Recovery From An Economic Development Perspective”
Presenter: David E. Leiva, Senior Fellow&Adjunct Instructor, Tulane University Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy
Abstract: In May 2007, an EF-5 tornado ripped through and annihilated 95% of Greensburg, Kansas, a town of about 1,500 people in the SW portion of the state. On the heels of the disastrous Hurricane Katrina federal response and with the promise of President Bush to use all the federal support available, the town vowed to not only “survive, but thrive.” Months later, Greensburg civic, business and elected leaders – with a host of external expertise – unveiled a recovery plan that not only set in motion the rebuilding of the two-square mile town, but the opportunity to become the first model green city in the U.S. Media captured the daily struggles of Greensburg for years, and tourists, academicians, and elected officials have come from all over the world to witness how this small town has used sustainability practices. Today, the city boasts the most environmentally friendly and architecturally rich buildings per capita in America. However, beneath the coating of eco-friendly public buildings and energy-efficient homes propped up by unprecedented financial, technical and federal support, has stirred a quiet brewing storm of smaller tax rolls, higher taxes, an underused business incubator, empty business park, decreasing revenue streams, growing consumer debt, and a clock ticking until 2018 when homeowners must pay the full property tax rates that have been delayed by a decade. The population has not returned to pre-storm levels as predicted by the same group of leaders. The media no longer visits. Fifteen years later, America’s role model for the green technology movement looks more like a cautionary tale of outsider influence, misunderstood economic principles, and a hint of buyers’ remorse.
“The Nexus of Emergency Management and Public Health: Public Administration Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic”
Presenter: Dr. Tonya E. Thornton is the Director for Critical Infrastructure Protection at the Global Connective Center
Abstract: Disasters are increasing in frequency and severity, but do not impact everyone equally—even in the same jurisdiction. Responding to, coping with, recovering from, and rebuilding after disasters are critical elements necessary for future planning and preparedness activities. Still, there are fundamental questions surrounding ethical challenges and administrative implications. Emergency and crisis management agencies and personnel have an obligation to protect citizens, including responding to public health challenges without discrimination. Yet vulnerable and marginalized groups around the world, including the elderly, immigrants and refugees, women, racial minorities, and the poor, endure higher infection, hospitalization, and death rates. These same populations face greater threats to other human rights abuses and violations than their less vulnerable or marginalized counterparts. As an example, black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in the United States (US) face greater risks of severe illness, hospitalization, and death related to COVID-19 (CDC, 2021; Pareek et. al, 2020). Such disparities undermine trust and legitimacy in emergency management efforts and highlight the need for equity-driven approaches to any crisis response.