Transformative natural hazard risk education – An approach to link risk communication and sustainability education within the framework of current societal challenges
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In the light of current global societal challenges, natural hazard risk governance requires both adaptive and transformative responses and education can play a key role in that. This contribution proposes to integrate principles of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into risk communication activities towards young people. ESD is a pedagogical approach with the overall objective to actively engage in questions of global societal relevance and to foster socio-ecological transformation. Its major goal is to provide knowledge and competences for shaping the future in a sustainable way. Typically, ESD activities are based on interaction, experience, participation and exchange of knowledge and competences. Within the framework of an integrated natural hazard risk management, I focus on risk communication as knowledge exchange to prevent, prepare for and cope with risks. Linking risk communication and ESD may develop risk competence in the context of global societal challenges and empower society to advance socio-ecological transformation by learning with natural hazards. Experiences and lessons learned from previous natural hazard events are valuable for prevention and preparedness whereas the topic of natural hazards also represents a tangible entry point for complex and abstract societal challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change and resource depletion. As it is not common practice today to link ESD with natural hazard risk communication, I argue ESD should become integral part of integrated risk management (Q2). Young people are usually less experienced in coping with natural hazard risks whereas in the future young populations are most affected by consequences of risk management decisions taken today. Transformative natural hazard risk education contributes to the development of “risks competent societies” as it provides young people with a comprehensive view on natural hazard risks while allowing to empower them as multipliers for socio-ecological transformation and natural hazard risk governance.