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posted Sep 7, 2014, 4:11 PM by Dean Hardy   [ updated Sep 7, 2014, 4:11 PM ]
Welcome. I'm a geography PhD student at the University of Georgia and my research focuses on the theme of vulnerability to environmental hazards, specifically social vulnerability to sea-level rise on the Georgia coast, but with the angle that the environments (ecological, political, and sociocultural ones, not just the natural "environment") people live in contribute to their vulnerability. Every month or so, I'll post a short piece on my research theme and/or experiences on the blog.

Sea levels in Georgia have risen an average of nine inches (1 foot = 0.3048 meters) since 1935 as measured by NOAA's tide gauge at Fort Pulaski off U.S. Hwy 80, which is a rate of one foot per century ( + 0.13 ft ).

There are multiple forms of vulnerability. To name a few, there are social, economic, natural, educational, political, and technical forms, and on and on. Each occurs in context, in the particular situation in which it arises and because of this has unique aspects regarding who is affected and what it is that affects them. To quote a colleague, Dr. Ed Carr, when assessing vulnerability it's important to first answer the question, "vulnerability of what, to what?" In other words, some social groups are more vulnerable to hurricanes, while being less vulnerable to tornadoes, fires, or even technical challenges and limitations. However, many assessments of vulnerability are "all-inclusive," meaning that they use aggregated characteristics to generate composite indices of "total" vulnerability.

These assessments show researchers and planners information at a different scale, and aid in comparing the relative vulnerability of one area to that of another area, but they tend to obscure the particularities, in other words the details, of why certain groups are more vulnerable to specific types of hazards. I don't want to go into too much detail here, but I'll have a post soon on vulnerability that breaks it down and explains it in more detail. I should say though, that vulnerability is related to the concepts of risk, exposure, sensitivity, resilience, and adaptive capacity, but I'll elaborate on those terms in the future post on vulnerability. I just wanted to introduce myself and my blog with this post.

Stay tuned and please follow me if you're interested in vulnerability, climate change, and/or sea-level rise.