The Cure for Catastrophe: How We Can Stop Manufacturing Natural Disasters

Written by Robert Muir-Wood

Year after year, floods wreck people's homes and livelihoods, earthquakes tear communities apart, and tornadoes uproot whole towns. Natural disasters cause destruction and despair. But does it have to be this way?

In The Cure for Catastrophe, global risk expert Robert Muir-Wood argues that our natural disasters are in fact human ones: we build in the wrong places and in the wrong way, putting brick buildings in earthquake country, timber ones in fire zones, and coastal cities in the paths of hurricanes. We then blindly trust our flood walls and disaster preparations, and when they fail, catastrophes become even more deadly. No society is immune to the twin dangers of complacency and heedless development.

Recognizing how disasters are manufactured gives us the power to act. From the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 to Hurricane Katrina, The Cure for Catastrophe recounts the ingenious ways in which people have fought back against disaster. Muir-Wood shows the power and promise of new predictive technologies, and envisions a future where information and action come together to end the pain and destruction wrought by natural catastrophes. The decisions we make now can save millions of lives in the future.

Buzzing with political plots, newfound technologies, and stories of surprising resilience, The Cure for Catastrophe will revolutionize the way we conceive of catastrophes: though natural disasters are inevitable, the death and destruction are optional. As we brace ourselves for deadlier cataclysms, the cure for catastrophe is in our hands.

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Featured On Episode #477