Killing two birds with one stone

Utilizing natural hazard threats to develop adaptive and thriving communities, and reduce the risk of disasters

Petra Buergelt, Douglas Paton, Andrew Campell, H James, Linda Rosenman, A Cottrell

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapter

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There is a growing and urgent need to develop competent, adaptive and thriving communities in northern Australia and to do so in the context of increasingly rapid change, uncertainty, insecurity and ‘wicked problems.’ A significant challenge in this context derives from the Top End’s unique hazard-scape. Bushfires in the region burn an area larger than Germany every year and contribute 50% of regional greenhouse emissions. Cyclones affect communities within 50km of the coast, and flooding disrupts lives and livelihoods in many communities for some ninety days per year. Climate change will amplify the risk from these hazards, add threats from sea-level rise, heat stress and vector-borne diseases, and create significant challenges to economic productivity, infrastructure, and human health and wellbeing. Capabilities to manage natural hazards are restricted by poor infrastructure, extremes of climate and
weather that make construction and maintenance difficult and expensive, low population densities, communities of varying degrees of remoteness, and differences in stakeholder views about how to define and manage risks. Thus infrastructure issues, population dynamics and distribution, and
social capital issues create significant challenges for realizing both the kind of community disaster resilience anticipated by the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience and the ability of Darwin to maintain its strategically important national role as Australia’s base for responding to major natural
hazards, pandemics and terrorist attacks in Southeast Asia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNorthern Research Futures
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherANU E Press
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


Cite this

Buergelt, P., Paton, D., Campell, A., James, H., Rosenman, L., & Cottrell, A. (2014). Killing two birds with one stone: Utilizing natural hazard threats to develop adaptive and thriving communities, and reduce the risk of disasters. In Northern Research Futures (pp. 6-8). Australia: ANU E Press.