NH
Natural Hazards

Social impact of natural hazards

The bad, the good and the unpredictable: living with volcanoes / part 2

The bad, the good and the unpredictable: living with volcanoes          / part 2

Before continuing, if you haven’t read it yet, catch up with the first part of this blog article by clicking on this link.

The good

Living with volcanoes is not all bad. Volcanoes provide a wealth of natural resources in the form of building materials, hot springs, freshwater and fertile soil. However, there are more hidden aspects, which was the focus of a recent collaboration with an archaeologist. We believe that volcanoes and their landforms provide “cultural services”, which is a component defined by the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment as the cultural benefits we gain from ecosystems. These components are the following:

[Read More]

The bad, the good and the unpredictable: living with volcanoes / part 1

The bad, the good and the unpredictable: living with volcanoes     / part 1
Introduction

Humans have existed and lived alongside volcanoes for as long as we have been on the planet. For some, this has been beneficial and often, in fact, we can see how indigenous knowledge finds a sustainable approach living with them. However, in some cases, societies cannot cope and are overwhelmed with volcanic eruptions. 

There are many examples from archaeological studies dealing with how ancient civilisations, successfully or unsuccessfully, lived with volcanoes. On one hand, for example, Pre-Colombian villages in Costa Rica were found to be the most resilient to the eruptions of Arenal volcano, managing to cope and survive with many eruptions. The villages were simple societies with egalitarian rules (where people are viewed as having equal rights and opportunities). This meant that they coped faster because everyone had the same duties and rights and were able to help each other without waiting for a ruler to do something for them. On the other hand, more complex chiefdoms in Central America struggled to cope with these events as they had a greater reliance on the built environment, competitive and sometimes hostile political environments and greater population densities [1, 2]. 

[Read More]