Let’s Not Learn to Love Disaster

Countries often focus on disasters within their borders, overlooking floods, fires and storms elsewhere. Scientist Stan Cox suggests that entire economies must be restructured in an opinion essay for Al Jazeera: “Governments and corporations worldwide … have built entire economies that depend on huge energy inputs and ever-expanding consumption, and they can't back out now.” Disasters are not so natural or inevitable, he argues: Poor community, road and dam construction, agriculture and forestry planning exacerbates the consequences of landslides, floods, wildfires, high tides or heat waves. Too often disasters are regarded as a business opportunity by some industry sectors, leading to new crisis bonds, hedge funds, insurance or other financial mechanisms. Between 2000 and 2009, the world had more than 1600 natural disasters. Rich countries lost an average of 17 lives per disaster, while poor countries lost an average of 344. Cox concludes that ordinary people around the globe are not being served by the delayed response to climate change. – YaleGlobal

Let's Not Learn to Love Disaster

Although many thought Hurricane Sandy was a sufficient alarm, the West keeps pushing the snooze buttons – humans can mitigate the effects of disasters
Stan Cox
Friday, February 1, 2013

Stan Cox is a senior scientist at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, US. His new book Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationingwill be published this spring by The New Press.

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