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Root Causes of Social Vulnerability: Technological and Human-Induced Hazards. Session 5. Session Objectives. Define technological hazards and their relevance to a discussion of social vulnerability
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Root Causes of Social Vulnerability: Technological and Human-Induced Hazards Session 5
Session Objectives • Define technological hazards and their relevance to a discussion of social vulnerability • Understand why it is often difficult to differentiate between technological and natural hazards, and thus important to consider both • Review major human-induced hazard trends • Appreciate similarities and differences in responding to technological and natural disasters
Technological Hazards • Human-induced is broader term • Inclusive of intentional and unintentional events • Events stem directly from human activity • Emerge from use of technology • Related to industrialization • Direct relationship between hazard and human and ecosystem health
Human System Hazard Agent
RISK Disaster failure in technology and/or in social, political, or economic system
Examples of Technological Hazards • Radioactive • Hazardous Waste • Toxic Chemicals • Oil spills • Chemical or hazardous materials accidents • Can you think of others? • What about global warming?
Technological Hazards and Vulnerability • Challenge to determine level of acceptable risk • People are exposed differentially to technological hazards • Distinct groups often benefit versus bear environmental burden • Can be extremely long-lasting (persistent) in environment
Classification of Hazards • Physical Characteristics • Natural /Technological • Probability / Consequence • Pervasive / Intensive • Acute / Chronic • Voluntary / Involuntary
Sample Hazard Categories: Natural • Extreme natural events • Meteorological • Geophysical • Common natural events • Meteorological • Geophysical • Biologic events • Epidemics • Infestations
Sample Hazard Categories: Human-Induced • Technological • Extreme failures • Common failures • Chronic hazards • Social Hazards • Civil disorder • Terrorism • Warfare
Link between Natural & Technological Hazards • Sometimes difficult to differentiate and/or disconnect role of people • Natural events often trigger technological events • Especially during large disasters • Can complicate response efforts
Technological Hazards? What about… • Global warming • Sea level rise • Acid precipitation • Ozone hole • Biological weapons
Global Technological Disasters: Why should we be concerned? • General upward trend in both events and fatalities • Inequities in distribution and burdens • Increasing reliance on technology • Increasing social vulnerability
Worldwide Technological Disaster Trends, 1975-2001 Events People Killed
Risk Management • Goals • Determine acceptable levels of risk • Balance risk with benefits • Acute Events • Response plans • Chronic Hazards • Legislation for regulation & establishment of acceptable risk
Risk Management • Often different set of challenges from management of natural hazards • Hazard researchers v. risk management • Community multi-hazard assessments • Must include technological hazards • Develop mitigation and response plans to incorporate both • Particularly address technological failures
4 Cultures of Risk Public Policy Makers Scientists Practitioners
Emergency Management • Contends with, and prepares for, effects of both natural and technological events • From HazMat spills to hurricane evacuation • Must integrate information from a variety of sources • Consider different research traditions • Scientific, empirical and anecdotal information
vulnerability technological hazards natural hazards resilience In sum… • Technological hazards are an increasing reality in modern society • Understanding community vulnerability is just as important when considering technological hazards • Effective emergency and hazard management requires consideration of BOTH natural and technological hazards