Mega-Disasters: Science, Policy and Human Behavior Spring 2007


Destructive hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods and tsunamis have occurred throughout human history often causing vastly more loss of life and disruption of human activities than events orchestrated by terrorists. Natural disasters will keep on occurring, but their effects are increasingly amplified by the presence and policies of humans. Stealth mega-disasters, caused almost solely by humans, are new phenomena that affect the future of civilization itself. These natural and stealth mega-disasters will become increasingly devastating socially and economically because the population of the planet is rapidly increasing and because of human actions and policies.

CAS Resident Associate and Professor of Geology, Susan Kieffer coordinates this initiative that will include a series of panel discussions and invited speakers throughout the academic year. CAS Resident Associate Robert McKim (Religious Studies and Philosophy) and Kieffer will be teaching a related course:

CAS 587 Environmental Sustainability; Scientific and Ethical Perspectives

Events held in anticipation of the Initiative year included “Katrina and Other Megacatastrophes: Science, Policy and Human Behavior” (September 26, 2005) and “The Pakistan Earthquake: A Wake-up Call for Mid-America?” (February 15, 2006).

Cosponsorship provided by the Walgreen Endowment courtesy of CAS Professor of Geology Susan Kieffer.

Monday, February 5, 2007
Symposium Solidarities Across Borders: Gender, Race, and Class in Post-Disaster Reconstruction
more info

Thursday, February 8, 2007
Amy Gajda
From Science to Time to Vanity Fair: Global Warming Becomes a Hot Topic
3:30-5 pm
more info

Friday, April 11, 2008
William C. French
The Dignity of Persons and the Value of Nature
4:00 pm
more info