Natural Hazards and their impacts will be analyzed in this course from a variety of standpoints, from their management to their interaction with social, political, environmental, and economic systems. Students will investigate what qualifies as a disaster and how the designation of a disaster depends on a range of factors, such as the intensity and scale of the event, the social context in which it occurs, the degree of vulnerability or resilience exhibited by affected parties, and the assets that any household has at its disposal to help cope with lost income and earning power, resources, social support mechanisms, and property.
This course will end with an on-site residency in Louisiana to study the recent history of natural disasters and climate change adaptation in that state, and many case studies and examples from this context will be presented to help prepare students for this field experience. In the last eleven years alone, Louisiana has experienced Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike, Gustav, Isaac, the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill, and now two riverine and precipitation-based flooding events of massive scale in the northern and central regions of the state (Great Floods of March & August 2016).
The intersection between human behavior and nature will include an analysis of climate change and rural/urban migration and development patterns that put growing numbers of people in the path of natural hazards that are increasing in frequency and severity. The course will allow students to gain insight into what it means to build effective resilience regimes and what we do and do not understand about effective adaptation and resilience strategies.
Note: Students are required to be on-site in Puerto Rico from December 9-14, 2019. Additional 60 minutes per week of asynchronous instruction is required. Learn the context of naturally occurring events. Make use of real world case studies to explore methods for understanding local conditions, building resilience and other factors necessary for an effective response and recovery. -Understand a disaster cycle and its relationship to existing doctrine as it relates to natural disasters. -Compare and contrast psychological and physical infrastructure aspects of events with notice and events without notice (a hurricane versus an earthquake, for example). -Identify the implications of underlying community conditions on risk communication throughout the disaster cycle. MPEM-500 is a pre-requisite for this course.