Environmental Catastrophes and Society


a) To recognize the importance of the interdisciplinary approach in the analysis of environmental catastrophes. b) To understand the different characteristics scales of these natural hazards. c) To apprehend the differences of magnitude and occurrences of the environmental catastrophes at global level. d) To evaluate the effect of the occurrence of these phenomena in Society. e) To analyze the type and frequency of environmental catastrophes in Portugal. f) To develop and to apply the knowledge acquired in the diagnosis and the prevention of this type of hazards. g) To interpret and analyze scientific articles and data.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Carlos Alberto Russo Machado


Weekly - 3

Total - 280

Teaching language





Beck, U. (1992). Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. London: Sage Publications.
Chaline, C., & Dubois-Maury, J. (1993). La ville et ses dangers. Paris: Masson.
Dauphiné, A. (2001). Risques et catastrophes: observer, spatialiser, comprendre, gérer. Paris: A. Colin.
Dennis, H. (1998). Comprendre et gérer les risques sociotechnologiques majeurs. Montréal: Presses Internationales Polytechnique.
ENISA. (2006). Risk Management: Implementation principles and Inventories for Risk Management/Risk Assessment methods and tools. Herakleon: European Network and Information Security Agency.
Fairman, R., Mead, C. D., & Williams, W. P. (1999). Environmental Risk Assessment: Approaches, Experiences and Information Sources . Copenhagen: European Environment Agency.
Guha-Sapir, D., Hargitt, D., & Hoyois, P. (2004). Thirty years of natural disasters 1974-2003: the numbers. Louvain: Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters Disasters & Presses Universitaires de Louvain.

Teaching method

Expositive and participative classes.

Evaluation method

Available soon

Subject matter

1) Introduction to the concepts of risk, hazard and disaster. 2) The different types of environmental catastrophes and its spatial distribution. 3) Geologic, climatic, hydrological, biological and technological catastrophes, causes and consequences. 4) The forecast and prevention. 5) The importance of the geographer in the diagnosis. 6) Participative methodologies and of perception, on the study of environmental catastrophes. 7) Future perspectives.