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ACTIVITY: Natural Disasters


Humans have been subject to the impact of natural disasters for as long as they have been on Earth. Disasters, unfortunately, are happening all the time. They are typically the result of a variety of factors, which begs the question, are these natural disasters really “natural,” or are they a result of something man made? This activity is designed to get you to think about the variety of factors that contribute to natural disasters.
"Oso Mudslide 29 March 2014 aerial view 3" by Spc. Matthew Sissel/Spc. Samantha Ciaramitaro. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons


Take 30 seconds to make a list of all the types of natural disasters you can think of. Look at the Natural Disasters Chart, which lists some major recent disasters around the world. Choose one disaster from the chart and brainstorm a list of all the factors that made this particular disaster so devastating.
Most natural disasters do have a bigger impact today than they did 50 or 100 years ago. The severity of the disasters is usually larger, likely due to changing weather patterns and changes in population density and housing.

For Further Discussion

Now, think about the disaster you picked and examine it in relationship to the following question: Are disasters today less “natural” than they use to be? Why or why not?
Share your chosen disaster and your answer to this question in the Questions Area below. Then, look at someone else’s choice of disaster and see if you can expand upon their thinking or provide more reasons for whether or not their disaster is less “natural” than it used to be.

Want to join the conversation?