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Maybe we don’t have to wait until after the disaster to take action on the climate crisis. Policies to address the challenges of the climate crisis face many of the same challenges as seismic safety policy. In both cases, we must use scientific models and predictions to understand the risk and then act on this relatively abstract information. For many decades, advances in seismic safety happened only in the aftermath of significant earthquakes, when the problem became more concrete. However, in the last decade substantial progress has been achieved in California without a significant event. As one of the architects of the recent legislation, Dr. Lucy Jones will share what she thinks has made this new effort successful and explain the ways that the lessons can be applied to the climate crisis.

Known by national news outlets as the “Earthquake Lady,” Dr. Lucy Jones has been a Research Associate at the Seismological Laboratory of Caltech since 1984. She completed 33 years of service with the US Geological Survey in March 2016. Most recently, she worked as the USGS Science Advisor for Risk Reduction, leading USGS’s long-term science planning for natural hazards research. In this role, she led the development of the major earthquake drill, the Great ShakeOut, which included 63 million participants worldwide in 2018. She is the founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, with a mission to foster the understanding and application of scientific information in the creation of more resilient communities. Working with both the public and private sectors, Dr. Jones seeks to increase communities’ ability to adapt and be resilient to the dynamic changes of the world around them. She is the author of the book, “The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do About Them)” (Doubleday, April 2018).

Dr. Jones will be in residence at the University of Oregon in October, serving as the Wayne Morse Chair for Law and Politics. The Wayne Morse Chair is one of the most distinguished chairs at the University of Oregon. Established in 1981, it honors Oregon’s U.S. Senator Wayne Morse, known as a gifted lawmaker and principled maverick. Chair holders are scholars, activists, elected officials, or public intellectuals who embody the principles of Senator Morse. They are nominated annually by an interdisciplinary faculty committee drawn from departments and schools across the university and are hosted by the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics. Past chair holders include Barbara Ehrenreich, Judge Abner Mikva, William Pfaff, Chief Wilma Mankiller, Senator Russ Feingold, Vandana Shiva, and Jose Antonio Vargas. Dr. Jones is the first scientist to serve in this position.19