The Earth: Work in Progress

STUDENTS: Module 4: Forces in the Environment

Earth icon. The Earth: Work in Progress Examines the forces released during earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and sinkhole formations which dramatically change the Earth's surface.

A natural hazard is an event in nature that produces environmental change and may negatively impact the environment.

Photo: Greg, kids, and globe.While environmental change can be the direct result of human impact, it also occurs as a result of the natural processes of our dynamic Earth.

Change is critical to maintaining a healthy environment. Devoid of human interaction, environmental change creates long-term benefits. For example, some plants do not reproduce unless their seed pods are opened during the intense heat of a fire. Floods, while life-threatening to humans and animals, are necessary to replenish nutrients in soil and build new land in delta regions. Volcanic eruptions create new habitats for plants and animals. These changes, while devastating to the environment initially, produce far reaching, positive results in the long term.
Understanding the Forces of Nature is Key to Prevention
Natural hazards and environmental change are inevitable, while loss of life and property can be greatly lessened through education and appropriate response.

Understanding the natural perils may help reduce the risks involved:Photo: Apartment crushes car (earthquake aftermath)
• where and how often they occur;
• what causes them;
• what factors increase their severity; and
• the efficacy of preventative measures.
The impact of natural hazards has as much to do with society's reaction to them as the actual events themselves. These actions will help prevent loss of life and property:
Photo: Aseismic creep. Responsible land use decisions

Building and construction practices that withstand hazards

Emergency preparedness

Early warnings to evacuate or take precautions

Post-disaster recovery

Public education and awareness
fire triangle
prescribed burn
Photo: Shake Table
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