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Like Wildfire: How Climate Justice Should Change Disaster Response

October 14, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

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Sponsored by DBASSE and Issues in Science and Technology magazine, the 2021 Henry and Bryna David lecture will feature Dr. Michael A. Méndez, assistant professor of environmental planning and policy at the University of California, Irvine.

As climate change advances, communities across the United States are adapting to the increased threat of wildfires. Such disasters are expected to become more frequent and severe.

In this lecture, Dr. Méndez explores why it is crucial to understand how these events amplify existing inequalities, and how to lessen the resulting harms, in particular for the most stigmatized populations, such as undocumented Latino/a and Indigenous migrants.

Dr. Michael Méndez is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Planning and Policy at the University of California, Irvine. He most recently served as the inaugural James and Mary Pinchot Faculty Fellow in Sustainability Studies and Associate Research Scientist at the Yale School of the Environment. Michael has more than a decade of senior-level experience in the public and private sectors, where he consulted and actively engaged in the policymaking process. This included working for the California State Legislature as a senior consultant, lobbyist, a member of the California State Mining & Geology Board, and as vice chair of the Sacramento City Planning Commission. In 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Dr. Méndez to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. The board regulates water quality in a region of 11 million people.

Dr. Méndez’s research on climate-induced disasters and social vulnerability has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Early Faculty Career grant, in conjunction with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Please visit NASEM’s Like Wildfire: How Climate Justice Should Change Disaster Response meeting page for more information.


National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM)
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