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The prominent geographer was one of the exhibitors at a seminar conducted by the ULS, where he referred to the importance of this type of activities, the work of universities in the care of risks and disasters and human responsibility for the development of cities respecting the natural space where they are located.

The renowned geographer and Director of the Tsunami Research Laboratory of the Catholic University of Chile, Dr. Marcelo Lagos, visited the University of La Serena to present on risk and governance areas at the I International Seminar "Quality, Engineering and Sustainability: Challenges to the intermediate cities ", an activity organized by the Faculty of Engineering, through the departments of Architecture and Engineering at OO.CC., and the Office of International Relations of the ULS.

lakes2In this context, the head of the Department of Physical Geography, referred to the importance of conducting this type of meetings, where you can discuss and reflect on risk and disaster care, and make a parallel with the social context of today. “I feel that (participating in this meeting) is a recognition of a work we have had for decades in the understanding of risk - disaster, even more so in a moment in Chile where a series of events are taking place in time, which today they have transformed into an outbreak, like earthquakes, in the form of an analogy, since they are processes that in space-time reach a point where they simply explode. ”

Lagos added that “in this scenario, disaster risk is an issue that marks us as a society and this space for reflection delivered by this seminar is an opportunity to move forward. But mainly, I stand out in making a mea culpa of how much we have contributed to build these risk scenarios that do not appear instantaneously, but that we ourselves, with our actions, build risks and disasters.

For the geographer of the Catholic University, it is important to have this type of activity, and although it is something critical, he considers that universities are still one of the spaces where debate and reflection on current issues should originate. “The truth is that the university is a space for critical reflection, it is a center that brings together thinking people, men and women, who reflect on societies and how to advance in human development. However, it is easy in the academy to fall into the intellectual comfort of doing more of the same, without looking critically, and, sometimes, when one looks critically at the model, you are criticized. The point is that today there are quite a few interesting points where we have to count, since, given our reality, we live with them, and from spaces like these we can generate the tools to generate various types of changes ”.lakes3

Along with this, the academic referred to the role that universities should take in dealing with this problem. “The academy should look directly at these issues and I have no doubt that it has done so; however, a large part of the studies that quantify the tsunami hazard scenarios are done by third parties, which is why institutions must create the opportunity to deepen issues that directly affect a significant percentage of society ”.

Finally, Lagos made a small reflection in front of developing a work linked to care and respect for nature. “The clear signal that nature has given us is that we cannot contain it and that we must learn to live healthy with it, this learning is happening and in this new decade we must take the opportunity to reflect on this, since we have certainly been a country that has been permanently subjected to natural phenomena that should allow us to advance in this learning; nevertheless, the hegemonic paradigm of this quantitative view of risk continues to predominate. ”

The activity took place on January 09 and 10 in the conference room of the Technological Center of the Faculty of Engineering (CETECFI) and had a large audience framework.

Written by Tomás Rodríguez, DirCom