Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Natural Hazards

I have run into trouble commenting on blogs from time to time; I have always just shrugged and moved on, i.e., given up. But this time, I feel like I have something to say that I feel pretty strongly about, and I hope this gets back to the blogger. The post is at GEOL 105 Natural Hazards with the title A Working Definition of "Natural Hazard." The body of the post says
A naturally-occurring force/event that impacts the environment around it. What do you think?
To which I tried to respond
I think the term "hazard" implies risk to people- not just "the environment." Also, "naturally-occurring" obscures the fact that human intervention in the environment often exacerbates risks. Nor am I entirely comfortable with the use of the word "force" in this context. In the interest of being helpful, not just critical, here's my stab at it: "Combinations of natural features, processes and events, possibly modified by human activity, that pose potential risk to human life, health, property and infrastructure."

I'm not speaking from any position of authority here, this is just my intuitive take on it. As such, I'm eager to hear what others think as well.
I tried several times to leave this comment, after repeatedly checking my email and website info, but it kept telling me "invalid data." So here's my attempt to comment; I do hope this gets back to the blogger, and I'm very interested in hearing what others think about either of these attempts to define the phrase, and better definitions if people think of them. Definitions, in a way, are a lot like scientific nomenclature- it can seem tedious at first, until you realize that until you're sure you know what the word(s) mean(s), you don't really know what you're talking about, and neither does anyone else.


Silver Fox said...

That question was under discussion on Twitter earlier today by @meaganpollock (who posted the working definition) and @Colo_kea.

Lockwood said...

This post was a response to that one; I just tried again, and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to leave a comment there. I'll check out what @Colo_kea has to say.

Jon said...

I maintain the Voices server. The blog had a spam plugin active that was preventing all comments (one way to stop spam). It has since been deactivated and you should be able to post your comment. Sorry for the inconvenience. I am sure @meagenpollock would want to have your comment on the site.