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Learning to Live Safely in the Australian Environment

Lidstone, John (1994) Learning to Live Safely in the Australian Environment. In Handmer, John W. (Ed.) Education for disaster reduction : World Disaster Reduction Day 1993. Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Australian National University, Canberra, pp. 15-22.

Abstract

In 1989 the International Ad Hoc Group of Experts, established by the Secretary General of the United Nations to advise on the way in which the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction should be implemented, called on "the people of the world as well as their governments to work towards greater security against natural disasters" and furthermore on "the governments of all countries to participate actively in the Decade by educating and training their citizens to increase awareness, by enhancing social preparedness, by integrating disasterconsciousness into their development programmes, and by making available the power of science and technology to reduce disaster loss" (Press, 1989). The importance of an educated citizenry has received mention in a number of publications associated with the United Nations Disaster Relief Organisation (UNDRO), and received its strongest affirmation in the concluding paragraphs of the report by the Ad Hoc Group of Experts which states that: "Knowledgeable and involved people are critical to building a safe society" (Press, 1989). While many of these statements imply activity at the local or national level, it is becoming increasingly obvious that we need knowledgeable and involved people to promote the concept of safe societies at a global scale as well. This publication is aimed at those who are interested in the promotion of active and informed citizenship in the context of disaster management through the medium of geographical education. Such people include geography and social studies teachers who teach about hazards and disasters as part of their work programs and those members of the hazard management community who, as part of their public education role, come into contact with high school teachers and students. For geography teachers, the variety of case studies of teaching approaches to hazards and disasters set in the contexts of the curricula in other states and territories of Australia should provide inspiration to extend and interpret their own curriculum guidelines in order to give the study of disasters the emphasis that it deserves. Members of the hazard management community will find the descriptions of curriculum organisation in the various states and territories useful in ensuring that their public education materials complement the work being done in schools while at the same time achieving their own goals of information transmission. They will undoubtedly be impressed by the variety and rigour of the activities currently being pursued in schools which contribute to the creation of a citizenry prepared to play a full and active part in disaster mitigation. In this chapter, we shall suggest that while current teaching about hazards and disasters undoubtedly contributes greatly to students' knowledge and understanding of hazards at the local and regional levels, alternative perceptions of disasters in the context of environmental, economic and development education may currently be overlooked.

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ID Code: 16840
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: For more information about this book please refer contact the author. No further distribution is permitted without permission of the copyright owner.
Keywords: geographical education, hazard education, disaster education, John Lidstone
ISBN: 08674042712
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1994 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 12 Dec 2008 07:45
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2011 15:38

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