How Natural Disasters Discriminate


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Natural disasters have dominated the news headlines lately with powerful hurricanes in Florida, Texas and the Virgin Islands, a forceful earthquake in Mexico and severe wildfires in Oregon and other western states. These events have had significant and damaging impacts on the people, buildings and natural environment in those locations and resulted in injury, death, destruction of homes and businesses, displacement and homelessness, loss of food, water and electricity and many other residual effects. While many people think that natural disasters don’t discriminate and are “equal opportunity” catastrophes, the reality is that natural disasters impact people in different ways and tend to have a more negative and lasting effect on certain identity groups such as women, poor people, people who are disabled, people who are elderly and undocumented immigrants.

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to define and learn more about natural disasters, reflect on their own thoughts, opinions and experiences with natural disasters and consider the ways that natural disasters do discriminate in that they impact certain identity groups in disproportionate ways.

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April 2019
Interesting topic but I can't use the material as it is because of the title. It might make a good newspaper headline, but it doesn't make a good title in a science class. It's simply untrue, never mind being biased. Natural disasters have very differing effects on people of course, but naturally occurring phenomena don't have the capacity for discrimination. A title like this feeds into scientific illiteracy.