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The ambiguity of environmental disasters

Abstract

Terminology pertaining to environmental and disaster management has long been subject to wide interpretation and vague definition. The term environmental disaster tends to be particularly ambiguous. Environmental disasters are often framed primarily in terms of their social and economic effects rather than their ecological impacts. The ambiguity of environmental disasters may be attributed largely to the general peripherality of environmental values. Evolving trajectories in disaster studies, including social constructivism and the vulnerability paradigm, do little to mitigate this ambiguity. A more meaningful and nuanced understanding of environmental disasters is needed and would include more explicit consideration of ecological impacts.

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Correspondence to Peter R. Mulvihill.

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Mulvihill, P.R. The ambiguity of environmental disasters. J Environ Stud Sci 11, 1–5 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13412-020-00646-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13412-020-00646-1

Keywords

  • Disaster categories
  • Disaster terminology
  • Environmental disasters
  • Ecological disasters
  • Environmental terminology