Wrapped between two excellent educational opportunities on wheels, this year’s EDEN annual meeting was chock-full of professional development: concurrent and general sessions interspersed with time to network with new and continuing delegates. The meeting became an international event with a three-member delegation from Bicol University, Legazpi City, Philippines and a participant from Beijing, China. We were very pleased to have Dr. Lauraya (President, Bicol University), Prof. Pavilando (Director, Bicol University Extension), Mr. Lauraya (Affiliate Lecturer, Bicol University), and Mr. Ying Zhang (graduate student, Beijing Normal University).
Oregon hosts Bill Braunworth and Lynnette Black engaged two excellent general session speakers to set the meeting tone. Expert on earthquakes and Emeritus Professor, Dr. Robert Yeats described the area in which we were meeting. Quoted often in Oregon newspapers, Dr. Yeats noted that the earthquake in Japan earlier this year is the same type that the Pacific Northwest faces from the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The major difference is preparation: the Japanese were more prepared than we are. The good news is that he has noticed that there is a shift among the general public from denial or acknowledging there is a problem to that of taking action against earthquake or another disaster.
Focusing on a related topic, Dr. Kathryn Higley, Head, Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health, OSU, was our capstone speaker. Dr. Higley took us back in time to the days of duck and cover as the accepted practice for protection against nuclear fallout—and then fast forwarded to the present and the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. She compared that incident to the 1986 Chernobyl incident, noting that they were quite different. The Chernobyl explosion and release resulted in 30 deaths (an additional 19 deaths may not be attributable to radiation exposure) and relocation of thousands of people from contaminated areas. Fukushima, on the other hand, had no deaths attributed to the radioactive release. The point of her presentation was that nuclear preparedness for the average family is not a complex issue. Rather, it is a common-sense approach used to be prepared for any disaster. (FEMA’s Are You Ready? site names three factors for protection: distance, shielding, time)
There were twelve concurrent sessions on a variety of topics and, for the first time, included three Agrosecurity White Paper presentations. For topic titles and presenters, visit the EDEN Annual Meeting page.
The 2012 EDEN Annual Meeting will move to the northeast—section of Mississippi. Stay tuned for details!