Transformation: The Key for Reducing the Risk and Impact of “Natural” Disasters and Climate Change

Petra BUERGELT, Douglas Paton

Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Abstract

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Around the world, extreme events and disasters are occurring with increasing frequency and severity, and with increasingly devastating impacts. But how natural are these so called 'natural' disasters? Humans and nature are intimately and interdependently intertwined. They interact reciprocally over time. Fundamentally, nature facilitates human life. However, if people disregard this vital relationship and live in disharmony with nature, nature can also challenge human survival. Failing to recognize this dialectical interaction has resulted in most humans living separated from nature and in disharmonious relationships with nature, themselves and others (Buergelt et al, 2017; Griffith, 2015). These increasingly disharmonious relationships are contributing to more extreme natural events occuring (Buergelt et al, 2017; Sithole et al., 2017). Parallel our individual and collective capacities to respond to the demands of extreme natural events are declining, resulting in extreme natural events turning into disasters (Paton, Buergelt & Campbell, 2015). To stem this tide, humanity needs to urgently (re)establish harmonious relationships with nature and each other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages200 - 202
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
EventXIII International Transformative Learning Conference: Transformation in Action: The Power of Community - Teachers College, Columbia University , New York, United States
Duration: 7 Nov 201811 Nov 2018


ConferenceXIII International Transformative Learning Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York
Internet address


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