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PeaceClinic - Lessons

Session 11

  PEACE PRACTITIONER WORKSHOP AND  DISCUSSION GROUP

[Session 10]    This is Session 11     [Session 12]

  Session 11 - World Peace 
 
'World Peace Begins At Home'
 
Patrick Henry (1736-1799)
"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?
Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what courseothers may take,
but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"
Speech in the Virginia Convention, March, 1775.
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Guided Discussions 

Culture Watch:
Terrorism:
Pacifism:
Violence in the Media:
Riots: Collective Violence
Racism:
Nonviolence:
Gandhi
Enviornment: Natural Disasters
Energy Crisis:
Global Hunger:

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World Environmental Report

11/12/2005
By Lauren Smith, Atwood, TN, USA

Disasters Increasing

Along with the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), CRED maintains an emergency disaster database called EM-DAT. An event is categorized as a natural disaster if it kills 10 or more people or leaves at least 100 people injured, homeless, displaced or evacuated. An event is also included in the database if a country declares it a natural disaster or if requires the country to make a call for international assistance.

According to the EM-DAT, the total natural disasters reported each year has been steadily increasing in recent decades, from 78 in 1970 to 348 in 2004.

Guha-Sapir said that a portion of that increase is artificial, due
in part to better media reports and advances in communications.
Another reason is that beginning in the 1980s, agencies like CRED and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) began actively looking for natural disasters.

"Like in medicine, if you go out into a village and look for cases
you find much more than if you just sit back and let people come to you when they're sick," Guha-Sapir said.

However, about two-thirds of the increase is real and the result of rises in so-called hydro-meteorological disasters, Guha-Sapir said. These disasters include droughts, tsunamis, hurricanes, typhoons and floods and have been increasing over the past 25 years. In 1980, there were only about 100 such disasters reported per year but that number has risen to over 300 a year since 2000.

In contrast, natural geologic disasters, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslides and avalanches have remained steady inrecent decades.

What's going on?

Scientists believe the increase in hydro-meteorological disasters is due to a combination of natural and made-made factors. Global warming is increasing the temperatures of the Earth's oceans and atmosphere, leading to more intense storms of all types, including hurricanes.

Natural decadal variations in the frequency and intensity of
hurricanes are also believed to be a contributing factor, as are
large-scale temperature fluctuations in the tropical waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, known as El Niño and La Niña.

People are also tempting nature with rapid and unplanned
urbanization in flood-prone regions, increasing the likelihood that
their towns and villages will be affected by flash floods and
coastal floods.

"Large land areas are [being] covered with cement so this means the flow of water becomes very strong," Guha-Sapir said. "The runoff from the water can't get absorbed by the soil anymore, so it keeps collecting and rushing down, getting heavier and faster, and then you have much bigger floods."

People aren't just putting themselves at risk for floods, but for
natural disasters of all types, including earthquakes and storms
like hurricanes and typhoons.

Making Disasters

"As you put more and more people in harms way, you make a disaster out of something that before was just a natural event," said Klaus Jacob, a senior research scientists at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

According to the World Bank's "Natural Disaster Hotspots: A Global Risk Analysis" report released in March, more than 160 countries have more than a quarter of their populations in areas of high mortality risks from one or more natural disasters. Taiwan was singled out as being the place on Earth most vulnerable to natural disasters, with 73 percent of it's land and population exposed to three or more threats.

The good news is that the number of deaths from natural disasters has decreased substantially in recent decades thanks to better disaster preparedness and prevention programs. But this statistic is tempered by the fact that more people are being injured, displaced or left homeless.

"If you don't die you need care," Guha-Sapir said. "To a certain
extent we prevent people from dying but more and more people are affected."
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Contact: suz_peace@yahoo.com
or peaceclinic@att.net

Miss Lauren Smith is currently an honor student at her high school in Tennessee. We thank her for her interest and contributions to the Peace Practitioners Workshop, 2005. 

~ Chloe Joquel, Founder/Director, The PeaceClinic, International

 





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