William H. Hooke, director of the Atmospheric Policy Program of the American Meteorological Society and former White House advisor, will give a talk on “Living Sustainably on a Planet of Extremes” on Thursday, Feb. 24, at 4 p.m., at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.
His talk is the fourth lecture in this year’s Edwin Way Teale Series on Nature and the Environment.
In recent years, U.S. losses to natural disasters have averaged $50 billion annually, not including long-term costs. Internationally, natural disasters threaten the global economy. Hooke will discuss ways of reducing the impact of extreme natural events, such as the 2004 fall hurricane season, December’s tsunami, and January’s storms in California.
“Most people, if they think of sustainable development at all, see the challenge as long term: protecting the environment and ecosystems in the face of inexorable but nonetheless gradual human population growth, economic development, and technological change,” said Hooke.
The interactions between human activity and the environment and ecosystems play out locally and regionally, however, and are strongest during extreme events, which can happen any time. Some of these are “natural,” driven by cycles of drought and flood, for example, or by an intense hurricane season or major earthquake. Others are driven by bursts of activity by humans: urbanization, the globalization of business, or the technological revolution.
Hooke was director of the U.S. Weather Research Program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 1993 to 2000. He also served as chair of the White House National Science and Technology Council’s Subcommittee on Natural Disaster Reduction. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1967. He is author of more than 50 scientific publications.
The Teale series brings experts on nature and the environment to the University of Connecticut.