People love their roadside and yard trees, but they also care about a reliable power supply. As a human dimensions researcher on the Stormwise project, I am interested in how people make decisions about their trees in the face of these competing values. One of the first steps in gaining this understanding is to evaluate perceptions of both storm-related, and specifically tree-related, power outages.
Recent storms in the Northeast, like Tropical Storm Irene, the October 2011 snowstorm, and Hurricane Sandy, have brought a lot of attention to the problem of storm-related power outages. We consider events like this to be environmental focusing events, because they cause the media and the public to focus in on the problem and potentially change the conversation about both the problem and possible solutions. Continue reading