quantitative literacy - communication; natural disasters; geohazards; climate change; global warming; Fukushima; Hurricane Katrina


Timothy H. Dixon. 2017. Curbing Catastrophe: Natural Hazards and Risk Reduction in the Modern World. (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press) 300 pp. ISBN 978-1108113663.

Despite all we know scientifically about geologic and other natural hazards, why is it that they continue to wreak havoc on humankind? Spurred initially by Fukushima (Japan, 2011) and Katrina (New Orleans, 2005), I have concluded that three factors are key: the lack of communication between experts, public and policy makers, especially when to comes to scientific concepts; time lags; and the need to consider long-term economic consequences. Earth scientists often think in terms of decades, centuries and longer, but for most people, long time scales are pretty abstract. Thus my book underscores the perils of ignoring the need for critical infrastructure. The issue is particularly acute for disasters associated with the hazard of climate change – the subject of my excerpt from Chapter 8, “What’s All the Fuss about Climate Warming?”



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License