It is beyond dispute that climate change is now a significant factor in a growing number of disasters. So disaster in general is becoming an increasingly salient topic. The pieces linked below sample some insightful angles on this broad subject.
This short radio story reminds us to keep in mind the central fact of a warming climate: Everything is unprecedented. Welcome to your hotter Earth (Rebecca Hersher, Nathan Rott, Lauren Sommer, NPR).
But disasters also always involve other factors, and this succinct piece offers four more key points: How to understand natural disasters in a climate change age (Maggie Koerth, Five Thirty Eight). And Fred Pearce expands on one of those key points in Yale Environment 360: It’s not just climate. Are we ignoring other causes of disasters?
How important is it to focus on local and individual specifics for disaster prevention, relief, and recovery? Very.
- Disasters happen to real people — and it’s complicated (Megan Rowling, Thomson Reuters Foundation).
- How a disaster expert prepares for the worst (Sam Knight, The New Yorker).
What happens when too many disasters occur in a short time? Here are two quite different takes on the newly useful term “disaster fatigue,” the first pertaining to volunteers, the second to victims and their perception of risk:
- Disaster fatigue is real — and the coronavirus could make it worse (Samantha Montano, Gizmodo)
- For scientists studying ‘disaster fatigue,’ this has been a year like no other (Rasha Aridi, Science).
The world of academia is rich in disaster studies. Here are just a few of many possible examples; to find more, Google disaster and economics, literature, political science, management, ethics — whatever field interests you.
- These two videos feature disaster sociologist Lori Peek: Seven Lessons from Seventy Years of Social Science Disaster Research (36 minutes) and Children and disasters—Reducing vulnerability and building capacity (22 minutes).
- Here is a written conversation among three disaster historians, Chad H. Parker, Andy Horowitz, and Liz Skilton: ’Disasters have histories’: Teaching and researching American disasters (Organization of American Historians).
- Environmental scientist Ellen Wohl offers this reminder that some nonhuman species can benefit from extreme events: “Disaster or disturbance: Environmental science of natural extremes” (Oxford University Press blog).
- Here are two contrasting views of the role of art in disaster: a relatively academic take by a critic/editor, How art deals with disaster, from Guernica to the climate crisis (JJ Charlesworth, CNN), and (to end this collection on a positive note) a look at what we might call recovery art in Puerto Rico, Art in the aftermath of disasters (Yue Li, Yes! Magazine).