GEOG Notes Week of Nov. 30th
GEOG Notes Week of Nov. 30th GEOG 1003
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by SophieSol on Thursday December 10, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to GEOG 1003 at George Washington University taught by Rain, D in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 27 views. For similar materials see Society and Environment in Geography at George Washington University.
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Date Created: 12/10/15
Risk o The potential for realization of unwanted, adverse consequences to human life, health, property, or environment o Estimation of risk is based on the expected value of the conditional probability of the event occurring times the consequence of the event given that it has occurred Probability: statistical estimates of likelihood of occurrence Consequence: impacts on people or ecosystems RISK = PROBABILITY x CONSEQUENCES o Motor vehicle accidents are the highest hazard risk (219 deaths per 1 million) Decrease exposure to reduce risk o More likely to die from flu from leukemia o Issue of perception People think that nuclear power plants are much more dangerous than they actually are, because of perception. If they live right next to one, it seems more dangerous Risk assessment o The estimation of the probability and severity of harm arising from various activities Professional risk assessors= engineers, ecologists… o Measure it based on past occurrence I.e. Road accidents, epidemiology of disease Assumptions: historic experience must have precedent: not a new technology, large population exposed to risk Problems with historical risk assessment: inadequacy of data, conditions change with new technology, difficulty in isolating cause and effect o Measure it through lab experiments Use of animals in controlled lab conditions Large doses for short periods of time LD50 = lethal dose that will kill half of the experimental group Problems: ethics of experimentation, comparison of animals to humans, extrapolation from high doses in small population to low doses in large populations o Evaluation Comparison to natural background risk level in general environment For example, the risk for cancers in US population is much higher from radon than nuclear power plants o Radon is a naturally occurring element Radiation that comes from ground Comparison to other risks Alterative technology: coal and nuclear power both provide electricity but coal has higher routine risk of death but nuclear power has a higher accident risk Compare risk to benefits: X-rays can cause cancer but they also help prevent disease. The question is, are those who bear the risk the ones who reap the benefits? X-rays or getting dental surgeries? Voluntary vs. involuntary risk People are 1000 times more likely to accept risks that are voluntary than those imposed upon them Risk perception o The subjective judgment that people make about the characteristics and severity of a risk o Few precepts Events that can be more easily brought to mind or imagined Ie planes crashing People will often start with one piece of known information and then adjust it to create an estimate of an unknown risk but the adjustment will usually not be big enough People are risk averse with respect to gains, preferring a sure thing over a gamble with a higher expected utility but which presents a gamble People will be risk-seeking about losses, preferring to hope for the chance of losing nothing rather than taking a sure loss People prefer to move from uncertainty to certainty over making a similar gain in certainty that does not lead to full certainty Ie. getting a shot for yellow fever even though you could still get it o Another key finding was that the experts are not necessarily any better at estimating probabilities than lay people o Risk of terrorism More people died on texas highways in 2001 than were killed in international terrorist attacks Americans are 40 times as likely to die in highway accidents as to be killed by terrorists Locating vulnerabilities spatially o Riskiest place on earth? Look at natural disasters (related to location) Look at risk of death How resilient are we? o Look at preparedness o It is “cultural” how resilient we are
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