Extreme Weather and COVID-19: Protecting Our Responders

We Might Finally Know a Key Mechanism Behind Our Planet’s Biggest Earthquakes

We’re learning more about earthquake triggers all the time, but there’s also plenty still to find out about how these seismic shifts work. Now, geologists think they’ve identified a key mechanism behind some of the biggest earthquakes on the planet.

Megathrust earthquakes happen at subduction zones, where one tectonic plate is being pushed under another. They’re particularly common around the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and they can also lead to gigantic tsunamis.

A new study suggests that a gradual, slow-slip movement deep below the subduction zone could be key to understanding how megathrust earthquakes are triggered, and might potentially improve forecasting models to better predict them in the future…

How to Protect Your Employees’ Mental Health During a Long, Hard Winter

As shorter days and colder temperatures collide with holiday-season strain, pandemic anxiety, and grief, many people are feeling overwhelmed–and more companies are recognizing the need to help employees cope with stress.

Asking employees to compartmentalize is unrealistic, says Alyson Watson, founder and CEO of Modern Health, a mental health benefits company in San Francisco. “What goes on in the world and in our personal lives plays a huge role in how we perform and how we’re able to show up at work.” Mental health care will soon be considered the “fourth pillar” of employee benefits, after medical, dental, and vision insurance, Watson predicts. But even if your company can’t afford to expand its benefits plan, you can take other steps to help your staff get through a difficult winter–and to incorporate mental health awareness into your culture. Here’s how to start…

Extreme Weather and COVID-19: Protecting Our Responders

Oregon firefighters in COVID-19 personal protective equipment.

Climate-fueled extreme weather disasters have not stopped during this pandemic. In fact, this year has been riddled with an onslaught of record-breaking weather disasters in the U.S., from hurricanes to wildfires to extreme heat. Tragedy after tragedy, communities are struggling to respond to both COVID-19 and the aftermath of these disasters at the same time. At the forefront are professional responders and volunteers who bear the brunt of these two converging crises.

Strained emergency response resources, lack of personnel, and challenging procedural shifts to reduce further spread of the virus have added an additional layer of complexity to recovery and response measures. These are just a few of the challenges plaguing responders during this pandemic, in addition to the hazards they face following a disaster. Their safety and health are paramount, and solutions such as increased investments in the public sector, stronger workplace safety enforcement, and preventative measures for COVID-19 must be put in place to support them…

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