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Extreme weather events affect millions of people around the world every year. Image courtesy

Climate change and disasters discussed by Exeter academic at Hay Festival

The impact of weather-related disasters and how humans can prepare for climate change in the future will be discussed by a panel including Professor Katrina Brown of the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) at the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts this week.

Professor Brown’s research focuses on how individuals and societies understand and respond to change, and their different capacities for adaptation and transformation. The panel, titled ‘Resilience to Disaster,’ is one of a series of events that the Hay Festival stages in association with the Royal Society.

The Festival has talks and panel discussions on a wide range of topics, including politics, science, global development, literature, arts and wider culture.

This panel relates to the Royal Society’s Human resilience to climate change and disasters policy project, of which Professor Brown is a Working Group member. 

The speakers will discuss the evidence that is being analysed in order to inform the important decisions regarding adaptation and risk reduction that are being made at global, national and local levels.

Professor Brown, Chair in Social Science at the ESI, said: “Understanding the human dimensions of resilience, including the economic and social, and also cultural aspects such as values, identity and attachment to place, are vital in how we can build capacity to respond to climate change and weather-related extreme events. I’m delighted to be able to discuss these issues at the Hay Festival.”

Professor Brown will be joined by Professor Georgina Mace CBE FRS, Dr Bhaskar Vira and Dr Camilla Toulmin on the panel, which takes place on Friday 30 May at 5.30pm on the Starlight Stage.

The ESI is working with businesses and enterprises across all sectors of the economy in Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and beyond to translate research and expertise into innovative business practices, products and services in order to respond to the challenges of environmental change. It has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme (£22.9M) and the South West Regional Development Agency (£6.6M), with significant support from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Date: 28 May 2014