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Environment and History

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Environment and History

Uncertain Environments: Natural Hazards, Risk and Insurance in Historical Perspective

Uwe Luebken and Christof Mauch

Environment and History 17 (2011): 1-12. doi: 10.3197/096734011X12922358301012

Natural catastrophes are not just sudden events; they are also embedded in historical patterns of vulnerability and resilience. In modern societies, risk is one of the most important principles applied to the challenges that natural hazards pose and insurance is an ever more important tool of risk management. The contributions to this special issue of Environment and History all stress the fact, however, that environmental risk is not simply a phenomenon 'out there' but the result of social, scientific, economic and cultural processes. They also illustrate that the understanding of risk varies over time.

KEYWORDS: Environment, risk, uncertainty, insurance, science, history


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