How to Disaster: Recover. Rebuild. Reimagine.

Hosted by our Executive Director, Jennifer Gray Thompson, the podcast focuses on the stories of individuals from public, private and non-profit sectors that have encountered a disaster. Most notable of these disasters is the 2017 wildfire disaster in Northern California that took place in the counties north of San Francisco. On the evening of October 8, 2017, eleven fires erupted across four counties: Lake, Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino. These fires were “mega fires” and over the next 23 days, they grew, merged, and destroyed over 9,000 structures and over 6,000 homes and took 43 lives. The scale and scope of the disaster was unprecedented. The community was left stunned and yet determined to overcome, and to do it together.

Since 2017, wildfire disasters have continued, year in and year out. Our new reality is shared across the state of California and most recently, the entire American West. The question of “How to Disaster” is the most urgent from those who were recently devastated and those who wish to build resiliency into their communities.

Recover. Rebuild. Reimagine. are three words chosen for their importance in a disaster. Recover, for the time after a disaster for communities to come together and start to heal; Rebuild, for the efforts to build back safer, greener, faster, stronger and prepared, and; Reimagine, to talk about what is possible if we let go of the idea that we can return to the day before the disaster, but instead look forward with hope, vision, and determination.

The experiences learned from the North Bay Fires in 2017 are essential as we prepare for future realities – as the risk is now a certainty – from wildfire and other disasters. Our podcast will be a way for audiences and listeners all around the world to engage in the important discussions regarding how we care for each other, our communities, and the environment in times of emergency.

Each episode will host select guests with a focus on their experiences pertaining to their personal or professional involvement in a disaster. Our conversations will touch on related topics to disaster such as recovery, preparation, response, planning, policy, safety, and funding, among others. Our guests will talk with us about the unforeseen opportunities that arise after a disaster and how to connect them with community-based disaster response, recovery, or work.  We will also include topics such as mental health, jobs, education, culture, arts and society, and other peripheral junctions to disaster – as the impact is far-reaching.