Lecture 4 - Patterns of Choice There are 4 patterns...

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Patterns of Choice There are 4 patterns describing how people choose to respond to a risk. 1. Absorb - view the risk as unproblematic or deny it outright -the probability is deemed too low to worry about -fate is determined by the capacity to absorb losses Example: San Andreas fault
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Patterns of Choice 2. Accept - there is awareness of the hazard (no denial) -passive attitude (there is little that can be done to reduce the impacts) -hazards are often viewed as acts of God Example: Nigeria drought
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Patterns of Choice 3. Reduce - there is awareness of the hazard (no denial) -action is taken to reduce impacts -typically there is reactive response and some preparation -usually people stay in place Example: flooding events, snow and wind related hazards
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Patterns of Choice 4. Change - there is awareness of the hazard (no denial) -radical action may be taken (move away or change the land use) Example: Australia drought
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Social Amplification of Risk After many years of research on public responses to risk, no comprehensive theory exists to explain why apparently minor risk events (as assessed by experts) sometimes produce massive public reactions. What is an example of a hazard that typically evokes massive public reactions that are more severe than what the hazard likely warrants? Nuclear energy What are some potentially negative impacts of such reactions? Governments have to respond to people so they might switch from clean nuclear energy to filthy coal
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Evocative Hazards These are hazards that are not likely to be serious but typically evoke much public reaction Ex: pesticides Canadians take pride in having attractive lawns around their homes and many use lawn care products to maintain them. However, pesticide use for lawn care has become an issue in many communities across Canada due to increasing awareness of the potential impact.
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Banal Hazards These are hazards that are known to be relatively more serious but typically evoke little public reaction. According to a Consumers Union study, eating peanut butter (which contains an average level of 2 parts per billion of aflatoxin) once every 10 days presents a cancer risk of 7 in one million. Small as that may seem, it is higher than the estimated risk of cancer from most pesticides.
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Amplification and Attenuation of Risk Amplification -involves hazards that have low probability as assessed by experts -elicit strong public concern Attenuation -involves hazards that may have serious physical impacts and a relatively higher probability -elicit weak public concern
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Amplification and Attenuation of Risk Transmitter -generates and sends the message about the risk Signal -the message itself Receiver -the target audience for message signals -the original signal may be considerably modified by the time it is received
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Signal Value Signals can be prescribed values by the receiver.
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