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The Multi-Hazards Podcast

all about protecting communities . . . 

Jul 18, 2021

Dr Ilan Kelman

How do human actions turn natural hazards into catastrophes for communities? The tragic truth is this: most disasters aren't natural. Instead, we choose them, that is, they're created or worsened by our own choices. How can we take action to save lives and preserve communities? Join Dr. Ilan Kelman, Professor of Disasters and Health, and Multi-Hazards podcast host Vin Nelsen as they discuss how we can choose NOT to have disasters harming us so much. Have a listen!

Study Guide here, click on PDF:

We discussed:
* How his theme fits in with recent heatwaves, wildfires & floods, like the West Coast of North America has seen.
* How vulnerability is actually a long-term process. The same people get hit again and again in most cases, right?
* How we blame nature & even climate change when our own social organisation has messed things up & increased vulnerability.
* How systemic racism plays out in disasters.
* How do centuries of imperialism create our current vulnerabilities and "shape
today's disaster map"?
* How imperialism over the centuries has shaped today's vulnerability map.
* How preparing "off-season" for disasters is a wise idea.
* What's wrong with our psychology when we we stubbornly "double down" on our perceived right to live in places that are disaster-prone.
* Etc.

Ilan Kelman’s Bio:

Ilan Kelman ( and Twitter/Instagram @ILANKELMAN) is Professor of Disasters and Health at University College London, England and a Professor II at the University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway. His overall research interest is linking disasters and health, including the integration of climate change into disaster research and health research. That covers three main areas: (i) disaster diplomacy and health diplomacy (; (ii) island sustainability involving safe and healthy communities in isolated locations (; and (iii) risk education for health and disasters (

Ilan’s debut trade book, Disaster by Choice: How our actions turn natural hazards into catastrophes, was published by Oxford University Press or OUP in 2020. LINK:

Also check out Dr. Kelman's awesome “What Makes It Tick?” YouTube video series, where many chapters of Disaster by Choice are made into an individual video:

Intro: "Ten Inch Spikes" by Jeremy Korpas on Youtube Audio Library

Outro: "Airborne" by Quincas Moreira on Youtube Audio Library

Episode Photos:

Portugal fire: Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash
Person near tent: Photo by Denniz Futalan from Pexels
Injured man: Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
Flood sign: Photo by Hermann Traub on Pixabay