Unit 1: Natural and ecological hazards Description
Natural and ecological hazards represent potential sources of harm to human life, health, income and property, and may affect elements of the biophysical, managed and constructed elements of environments.
This unit focuses on identifying risks and managing those risks to eliminate or minimise harm to people and the environment. Risk management, in this particular context, refers to prevention, mitigation and preparedness. Prevention is about things we can do to prevent a hazard from happening. Mitigation is about reducing or eliminating the impact if the hazard does happen. Preparedness refers to actions taken to create and maintain the capacity of communities to respond to, and recover from, natural disasters, through measures such as planning, community education, information management, communications and warning systems.
Building on their existing geographical knowledge and understandings, students examine natural hazards including atmospheric, hydrological and geomorphic hazards, for example, storms, cyclones, tornadoes, frosts, droughts, bushfires, flooding, earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides. They also explore ecological hazards, for example, environmental diseases/pandemics (toxin-based respiratory ailments, infectious diseases, animal-transmitted diseases and water-borne diseases) and plant and animal invasions.
This unit includes an overview of natural and ecological hazards and two depth studies: one focusing on a natural hazard and one focusing on an ecological hazard.
The scale of study for this unit, unless specified, can range from local to global, as appropriate. The potential for fieldwork will depend on the hazards selected.
In undertaking these depth studies, students develop an understanding about using and applying geographical inquiry, tools such as spatial technologies, and skills, to model, assess and forecast risk, and to investigate the risks associated with natural and ecological hazards.