Why are we responsible for an increase of global natural disasters?

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One way in which this statement could be said to be true would be related to climate change. Scientists have argued that extreme weather, e.g. hurricanes, flooding, and tornadoes is intensified by climate change, which has itself been exacerbated by human activity. Another way is that people have developed areas where natural disasters are likely to happen. One example of this is the construction of expensive real estate along barrier islands in the southeastern United States. This area has long been ravaged by storms, and the economic cost of these storms has been made disastrous not so much by a major difference in the storms themselves, but by the fact that over the last fifty years, billions of dollars worth of real estate has been constructed in their path. Similarly, people in the West have moved into areas often subject to brush and forest fires, thus making what is essentially a eons-old natural phenomenon a natural disaster, and countless millions of people live atop dangerous fault lines. Finally, human activity can create a risk for natural disasters. Through deforestation in many places, we create a risk for more erosion, which can lead to deadly mudslides. By draining marshes, we eliminate a safety valve for floodwater. So humans can intensify, create, or worsen the impact of natural disasters through their decisions.