This is one of the most extensive questions in the case study framework and differs significantly depending on which type of disaster is being highlighted.
Fast disasters are environmental hazards that erupt quickly, catastrophically, and often explosively, and require an emergency response. Even though fast disasters erupt in a dramatic way, however, they don't occur suddenly. Investigations have shown that all fast disasters have a deep backstory: they were years in the making. Documenting these backstories is necessary to understand where things went wrong and where changes could prevent future disasters.
Types of fast disaster hazards include:
Where possible, responses to this question should document the effects of the specific types of fast disaster threats present in a particular community. For example, information on which specific chemicals are stored by an RMP facility is important for evaluating both the potential damage of a worst case scenario and the appropriate response to it.
Slow disasters are routine forms of pollution affecting primarily the soil, water, and air. We call them "slow" disasters because the impacts are drawn out and cumulative, causing harm slowly by increasing rates of asthma, cancer, heart disease, and other health issues. In many ways, slow disasters are more difficult to deal with than fast, explosive disasters because people don’t pay attention to them or even think they are normal – especially in communities of color.
There are five primary sources of slow disaster threats:
As in fast disasters, responses to this question are most valuable if and when they can identify specific chemicals present in a community's hazards and their effects on people and the environment.
Climate change causes both fast and slow disaster: it is linked to increasing incidence of extreme weather (hurricanes, catastrophic flooding, and dams breaking, for example) and also to slow, less dramatic but still very threatening changes -- in water availability, agricultural productivity, disease incidence, and so on. This is why we refer to climate change as a “combo disaster.” These forms of disaster also interact to produce new hazards: for example, nearly one third of all RMP facilities are threatened by rising sea levels.
There are five primary types of climate hazards:
Because all of these hazards have the same root cause (climate change), they are much more interconnected than fast or slow disaster hazards--for example, wildfires are exacerbated by extreme heat, drought, and extreme weather (like increasingly frequent/severe thunderstorms).