Professor of Natural Hazards Planning
Bruce Glavovic is working to find ways of making the world safer and more sustainable.
Climate change threatens human development aspirations. More than half the world’s population live within 100 kilometers of the seashore. Many face increasing disaster risk due to unsustainable practices and climate change. It is imperative that we learn to live with slow changes like rising sea-levels as well as sudden shocks like earthquakes or floods.
Bruce Glavovic is working to find ways of making the world safer and more sustainable. An internationally renowned researcher and professor of natural hazards planning at Massey University, his research is focused on how to build resilient and sustainable communities. His expertise in coastal risk, vulnerability, resilience and sustainability is in demand from countries around the world.
Growing up in South Africa, Bruce was passionate about the environment and wildlife (he kept snakes as pets!) so when it came to choosing his career path it was an easy decision.
He completed a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in South Africa in 1983, and went on to study for a Master of Science in environmental science, a master’s degree in planning and then a PhD in environmental dispute resolution in the USA.
Over the past 25 years he has worked within government, private consulting and academia in South Africa, America and New Zealand.
Now he’s a Professor in the School of People and Planning at Massey and holds the New Zealand Earthquake Commission Chair in Natural Hazards Planning. He is the associate director of Massey’s Joint Centre for Disaster Research and is on a number of international committees, boards and expert panels like the Scientific Steering Committee of the Land-Oceans Interactions in the Coastal Zone and The Belmont Forum Expert Review Panel on coastal vulnerability.
“For humanity to thrive in the long run, we must work together to build safe, sustainable and exciting communities,” he says. “Disasters – like those in New Orleans, Japan and Christchurch – provide us with a window of opportunity to redefine what it means to be a community. We can, and should, learn much from these experiences. Planet Earth is our home. We have no alternative but to learn to live sustainably in the face of change, uncertainty and surprise.”