Why It’s Time to Stop Calling These Hurricane Disasters “Natural”

From the WashPost, this opinion piece authored by an MIT professor: Why it’s time to stop calling these hurricane disasters ‘natural’

We must first recognize the phrase “natural disaster” for what it is: a sham we hide behind to avoid our own culpability. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires are part of nature, and the natural world has long ago adapted to them. Disasters occur when we move to risky places and build inadequate infrastructure.

In the United States, we have in place a range of policies that all but guarantees a worsening string of Katrinas, Sandys, Harveys and Irmas as far as we can see into the future. Climate change acts as a threat-multiplier to these policy-generated disasters, making them progressively worse than they would have been in a stable climate.

2 thoughts on “Why It’s Time to Stop Calling These Hurricane Disasters “Natural”

  1. Disagree. Strongly 🙂 We could build all day long and if a meteor rains down and strikes my house, I have a hard time calling that a non-natural disaster. If the root cause is a non-random event caused in nature, it’s natural. If it’s caused by something humans did, it’s human (or technological.)

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