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Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3621; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103621

Analyzing the Social Lead-Up to a Human-Induced Disaster: The Gas Extraction-Earthquake Nexus in Groningen, The Netherlands

1
Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, Landleven 1, 9747 AD Groningen, The Netherlands
2
Division of Geography and Tourism, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200e—Box 2409, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
3
Management School, University of Sheffield, Conduit Road, Sheffield S10 1FL, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 August 2018 / Revised: 30 September 2018 / Accepted: 6 October 2018 / Published: 10 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Abstract

The overwhelming impact that disasters have on societies is fed by socio-economic vulnerabilities and political-institutional factors. Disasters are, therefore, increasingly regarded as partially created by humans instead of as purely natural events. Although the “social creation” of disasters is assumed to occur “above the ground” and triggered by extreme natural events, this article explores several dimensions to the social creation of disasters, including technological and institutional dimensions from both “above” and “below the ground”. It furthers the understanding of disaster governance by investigating processes that generate the social lead-up to a human-induced disaster, and that are installed to deal with its consequences. Focusing on the case of Groningen, the Netherlands, where gas extraction leads to earthquakes, the article looks in particular at the interrelationships between different state and non-state actors in the governance dynamics that structure the processes to deal with the earthquake issues. Based on in-depth interviews with a variety of stakeholders, we found that public-private institutional structures, the nature of the disaster and societal (dis)trust are entangled and influence disaster governance processes mediating resilience and sustainability. The article concludes by arguing that both the causes of (human-induced) disasters and the approaches to disaster mitigation lie in these political-institutional and governance fundaments. View Full-Text
Keywords: socially-created disasters; “natech disasters”; multi-level governance; extractivism; sustainability; public trust; public-private relationships; The Netherlands socially-created disasters; “natech disasters”; multi-level governance; extractivism; sustainability; public trust; public-private relationships; The Netherlands
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Bakema, M.M.; Parra, C.; McCann, P. Analyzing the Social Lead-Up to a Human-Induced Disaster: The Gas Extraction-Earthquake Nexus in Groningen, The Netherlands. Sustainability 2018, 10, 3621.

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