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World-renowned earthquake expert launches podcast to bring calm to chaos

Posted at 9:56 PM, Jul 01, 2020

A new podcast brings understanding to the coronavirus pandemic. It aims to help people realize that science can help manage chaos.

The "Getting Through It" podcast is centered around a renowned expert whom many consider to be the voice of calm in a crisis.

Dr. Lucy Jones takes on terrifying topics, like earthquakes, with ease. Back in August 2019, Jones led a group of Southern California leaders and curious earthquake adventurers on a tour along the San Andreas fault. She discussed "lifelines" which are electricity, water, gas, transportation and telecommunications lines, things that connect us all. She discussed how all of those things would be impacted during an earthquake, and what that would mean for us all.

And while a terrifying topic, she does it with ease, easing fear for listeners. Now, she's taking on the next fear, the one we can't stop talking about.

“It’s a scary time but if you understand the world it makes it less scary and that’s what I’m trying to do to help us all get through one of the really big change moments,” Dr. Jones said. “It’s not just that people are dying, this type of disruption will change our society. We will be a different culture in a year.”

In 2016, Jones, a seismologist who worked with the US Geological Survey for more than 30 years, founded the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Societywith the mission of helping communities adapt to the "dynamic changes of the world around them." Her new podcast "Getting Through It" does just that.

“We see all of these things that make something frightening or not and they happen over different time scales,” Dr. Jones said. “The earthquake is in a minute, the pandemic in a year, a flood in a month, climate change over 100 years, but all are disrupting society, killing people and damaging the economy and one of the big things we see in these situations is we’re frightened.”

Thus far, the podcast has taken on topics like "surviving the pandemic with science" and "why you feel/fear the way you do about disasters."

“There’s these sort of big picture understanding of how humans operate, how disasters affect us that have a lot of implications right now,” Dr. Jones said. “This is going to be a tough year. The pandemic is not over, we’re handling it worse than a lot of other countries for a lot of reasons, and right there it easy to blame. There’s a lot to go around but if we focus on that, where’s that going to lead us?”

Her co-host and community resilience expert John Bwarie says they've been getting a lot of public reaction during the pandemic. People wanted Dr. Jones to weigh in.

“Everyone’s at home, people are seeking, craving information that gives them a sense of calm and gives them a sense of control over the crisis because someone they trust is giving them information they can use. We thought now is the time to do this,” Bwarie said.

They work together at the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society. Because the pandemic isn't going away, they figured they would help people through conversation.

“We ask them what do you want to know and the response is how do I plan for my future or what’s gonna happen next it's not about a specific pandemic or specific natural disaster like an earthquake or wildfire it’s just about getting through it,” said Bwarie.

When we asked why people find it so necessary and important to hear from a voice of reason right now, Bwarie said, “Part of what makes Dr. Jones so calming is her ability to communicate the information that is very complex and seems very difficult to understand she puts it in simple terms but also her tone, she’s very human in her communication.”

There are a lot of things we do know, according to science: Wear a mask. Being outside is better.

The podcast will discuss topics like children, mental health, working at home. COVID-19 she says, has exposed our major societal flaws. If there is any sort of silver lining, it's that we now have the opportunity to fix what's wrong.

“The Great Depression led us to the new deal and allowed us to make incredible improvements for a lot of people and the same disruption in another democratic society in Germany led to the rise of Nazism,” Dr. Jones said.

And while some of those major changes may take a while, for now, "Getting Through It" is a way for us all to forge the current and next disaster together.