Time capsule: A message to future emergency managers, resilience practitioners, and disaster risk reduction scholars

By Lilia Yumagulova

Time capsules are an ancient tradition that carry messages intended for future generations. For example, the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of humanity’s oldest recorded tales, starts with instructions of how to find a box of copper located in the foundation stone of the great walls of Uruk. Meanwhile, a Golden Record that is expected to remain intelligible for more than a billion years has been traversing interstellar space with the Voyager probe since 1977.

Some cultures traditionally lay a cornerstone in buildings to symbolize a square and true foundation. This tradition is particularly apt for public safety buildings as emergency services can be considered “a cornerstone and the foundation for a solid community“.

In May 2019, a 53-year-old time capsule memorializing the history of emergency responders in Winnipeg was unveiled. In it were statistics, photographs, badges, and buttons representing the police, fire, and signals departments. At the time of the building’s opening, the Signals Department oversaw emergency telecommunications, two-way radio, telegraph communications, traffic signals, alarm systems, and automatic controls: a communication system believed to be “the most modern of its kind in the country,” according to Sarah Ramsden, Senior Archivist at the City of Winnipeg.

For this issue of HazNet, we connected with leading researchers and practitioners around the world and asked them a question:

What advice would you give to future emergency managers, resilience practitioners, and disaster risk reduction (DRR) scholars?

We asked them to write their capsule for either 2030 or 2050. This is what we heard.

David E. Alexander: 2030 adapting to complexity

Dr. Atyia Martin: Focus on equity

Emily Dicken: Actionable change for diversity and inclusion by 2030

John Handmer: DRR as a fundamental human right

Rajib Shaw: “Society 5.0”, 2050

Ron Kuban: Predicting 2050

Devin Naveau: Medicine Wheel at the Core of Emergency Management