'Surviving the volcano': managing disaster
“Volcano threatens to erupt” was the newspaper headline greeting me as I arrived on Montserrat to participate in a biodiversity survey of what was thought to be a volcanically dormant island. I witnessed close up the eruption that marked the beginning of the evacuations and the disruption to this idyllic island and its friendly people. Over a two-month period I saw the island transformed from a relaxed, beautiful Caribbean paradise into an evacuated and dangerous landscape.
All this is documented with striking images and engaging stories, including my near death experience close to the first eruption. I have revisited the island to see how it has changed over the last 16 years and I can deliver a composite talk that looks at before, during and after the eruptions to see how Montserrat is redeveloping itself.
A popular talk with schools
This talk is very popular with schools as it tackles issues such as geohazard geography, the impacts of natural disaster on local communities, and the difficulties of managing and predicting volcanic impacts. Schools have also used me as a resource in geography lessons throughout the day, including when Montserrat is the chosen case study for the Common Entrance exam.