Explore how disasters and epidemics have impacted Californians over time.
Living in California means living with natural disasters. With the acceleration of climate change, we are experiencing disasters with increased frequency and intensity. These major events, including epidemics, affect Californians differently depending on location, socioeconomic status and race, among other factors. Although these events can often be devastating, they can also be portals for societal reform.
From Earthquakes to Epidemics explores the impact of natural and manmade disasters and pandemics in California, using the humanities as a lens to give context to the impacts of recent and historic disasters in the Golden State.
Stories within the exhibit represent the entire state of California, and reflect historic and contemporary issues. From fires to floods, from earthquakes to droughts, from the 1918 flu to the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors will learn about major events in California’s history, and how many disasters actually inspired positive changes within our communities.
From Earthquakes to Epidemics is advised by Dr. Juan Declet-Barreto, who combines the humanities and science in his work as a Climate Vulnerability Social Scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Dr. Declet-Barreto earned a Ph.D. in environmental social sciences, M.A. and B.S. degrees in geography, and an associate’s degree in geographic information systems from Arizona State University. At UCS, his research maps, analyzes, and finds solutions to the unequal human health and livelihood impacts of environmental hazards, particularly those exacerbated by climate change. Before joining UCS, Dr. Declet-Barreto spent two years as a climate and health research fellow with the Natural Resources Defense Council, where he helped link climate change to adverse health impacts, with a special attention on low-income communities, and communities populated predominantly by people of color. His research maps, analyzes, and finds solutions to the unequal human health and livelihood impacts of environmental hazards, particularly those exacerbated by climate change.
This exhibition has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.
This exhibition is traveled by Exhibit Envoy.