May 4, 2010
|"WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND SOCIAL VULNERABILITY TO ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGES AND RISKS?"|
|Speaker: Dr. Frank Thomalla|
|Time: 1.00 - 2.00pm.|
|Location: Biology Tea Room, Building E8A.|
Abstact: In this seminar Dr. Frank Thomalla will explore vulnerability theory and demonstrate its application in the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-4) Chapter 7 Vulnerability of Human-environment Systems: Challenges and Opportunities, published by UNEP in 2007.
Vulnerability research focuses on the social dimensions of the coupled human-environment system with the aim to understand the causes of vulnerability, the scale at which they happen, and the main actors involved in order to identify entry points for change and social transformation that support disaster preparedness, adaptation and resilience building.
Many current approaches to reducing environmental risks and securing future sustainability are ineffective because they focus on exposure to impacts only without understanding and addressing the underlying socio-political processes and environmental linkages that define sensitivity and resilience – the two other important dimensions of vulnerability. Examples include cultural norms and religious doctrines, knowledge and perceptions of risk, the strength and trust in existing governance processes, and levels of active and sustained stakeholder engagement in disaster preparedness initiatives and adaptation responses.
Bio: Dr. Frank Thomalla joined the Department of Environment and Geography in March 2009 as a Senior Lecturer under the CoRE position Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. Working closely with Climate Futures at Macquarie and Risk Frontiers, Frank is establishing a multi-disciplinary research group aimed at improving understanding of how social vulnerability to natural hazards and climate variability and change can be reduced, and adaptive capacity enhanced. Specialising in vulnerability, resilience and adaptation research with a focus on coastal zones, Frank has more than 10 years of work experience across the globe. He has worked for the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI); the Stockholm Resilience Centre; the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; the Cambridge University Centre for Risk in the Built Environment, and the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit.