News Geography Book Club Lecture: Disaster by Choice 07.12.2022

On Tuesday we were delighted to welcome Ilan Kelman, Professor of Disasters and Health at UCL, whose area of expertise is linking disasters to health and challenging the idea of natural disasters and arguing that most disasters, including those caused by climate change and pandemics, occur as a result of human interventions and choices. 

In his talk to a packed hall of geography students and parents, Mr Kelman put his ideas in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Cholera pandemic, HIV, SARS and MERS and explored how society can act to prevent and avoid disasters when nature unleashes its powers. He also focused on the plight of the people impacted by the floods in Pakistan which are caused by climate change and highlighted the impact of the social, political, and economic factors involved in our decision making around such natural hazards.

Our students, many of whom had read Ilan’s Kelman book ‘Disaster By Choice’ in this term’s Geography Book Club, followed up the talk with a number of probing questions. We were very grateful to Ilan Kelman for his fascinating talk and to the members of our audience who donated to our appeal to support the victims of the Pakistan floods through the Disasters Emergency Committee’s campaign for Pakistan.