Steven Eberlein

Author, The Really Big One

Steve Eberlein was born and raised in a small town in Oregon. He 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 ourselves and our three children ready by following Red Cross and FEMA recommendations. Steve has presented more than 100 times, reaching about 17,000 audience members

He 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, Steve aims to persuade the audience to prepare and to become preparedness advocates who will promote a more resilient culture through the simple but persuasive power of their own examples. See his TEDx Talk or read his article Ode to the Shakeout: Why I love earthquake drills to learn more about the theory that guides his work.

Eberlein owns and operates Tipping Point Resilience, a preparedness consultancy that aims to create sustainable cultures of preparedness in organizations and communities awaiting natural disasters – particularly earthquakes.