Author, The Really Big One
PLENARY SESSION: Creating the Tipping Point
Born and raised in a small town in Oregon, Steven Eberlein and his wife found themselves living in Sri Lanka when the Boxing Day Tsunami struck, taking 35,000 lives in Sri Lanka and 230,000 lives overall in 16 countries. After serving together in the relief effort, they returned to the Pacific Northwest, which was just then coming to terms with the certainty of its own earthquake/tsunami event. These concerns reached a crescendo with the New Yorker’s publication of The Really Big One, which won the Pulitzer Prize.
The interest and anxiety around the PNW subduction zone gave Eberlein an opportunity to speak about his family’s experience in Sri Lanka, the science behind the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake/tsunami risk, and the steps they themselves are taking to get themselves and their three children ready by following Red Cross and FEMA recommendations.
Eberlein argues that preparedness is like any other cultural behavior – be it eating with chopsticks, taking your shoes off at the doorway or shaking with your right hand. Preparedness is not a behavior that can be forced from on high – it’s a practice that is learned from one’s community of belonging. With each presentation, he aims to persuade the audience to become even better preparedness advocates who will promote a more resilient culture through the simple but persuasive power of their own examples.