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KCBX Two-Way: Are "natural disasters" really natural?

Santa Barbara Public Works sent out crews to assess the damage at Refugio Road from last night's storm.
Twitter/County of Santa Barbara Public Works
Damage at Refugio Road in Santa Barbara County during heavy winter storms in January 2023.

Climate change is intensifying disasters like wildfires, storms and extreme drought all over the world — including here on the Central Coast. There’s a growing call to stop using the term “natural disaster” for these types of events, as some argue they’re influenced by human factors like climate change, lack of infrastructure and political instability.

KCBX's Benjamin Purper spoke with Jeremy Jacobs from ShelterBox, a Santa Barbara-based humanitarian nonprofit arguing for using different language than "natural disaster."

Benjamin Purper was News Director of KCBX from May of 2021 to September of 2023. He came from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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