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A science & arts sensitization program in Chapultenango, 25?years after the 1982 El Chich?n eruptions (Chiapas, Mexico)

Dmitri Rouwet1*, Marta Iorio2 and Demetrio Polgovsky3

Author Affiliations

1 Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Bologna, Via Donato Creti 12 CAP 40128, Bologna, Italy

2 Independent visual artist/illustrator, Bologna, Italy

3 Independent visual artist, Oaxaca, Mexico

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Journal of Applied Volcanology 2013, 2:6  doi:10.1186/2191-5040-2-6

Published: 24 October 2013

Abstract

Volcanic risk perception may drastically decrease after eruptions and during periods of volcanic quiescence. Despite the fact that the adults in Chapultenango, a Zoque indigenous community near El Chich?n volcano (Chiapas, Mexico), lived through the 1982 Plinian eruptions, their awareness of present volcanic risk is low. In particular, children, adolescents and young adults (born after 1982) should be informed about the activity of El Chich?n, as they are more likely to be affected by possible future eruptions. This grass roots level sensitization project uses a novel approach to poll risk perception and to transmit knowledge of El Chich?n volcano among 6- to 11-year old children by combining scientific information sessions with arts workshops. Similar scientific sessions, although without the arts workshops, were less efficient for the older age group (Secondary School students). Moreover, the local Protecci?n Civil and Gobierno Municipal was invited to participate in a basic monitoring of El Chich?n volcano. A lack in continuity in local political terms presented the major barrier for an effective and self-sufficient following-up of the volcanic surveillance. The entire population of Chapultenango was involved during informal meetings and semi-scientific projections of ?their volcano?, offering an alternative and more scientific view on El Chich?n?s activity, often referenced in a more mystical-religious frame. It is experienced that the volcanologist is recognized as a highly trusted professional, bridging the gap between the official authorities and society.

Keywords:
Science & arts; Social volcanology; Education; Risk perception; Civil protection; Zoque community; El Chich?n