How Human Actions Trigger Landslides and What We Can Do About It

Landslides surge as human impact worsens, demanding global action. Early warning systems offer hope, but developing nations face unique challenges. Collaboration, research, and sustainable practices are key to mitigating this rising threat and building a resilient future.

How Human Actions Trigger Landslides and What We Can Do About It
A precarious home clinging to a crumbling slope, highlighting the human cost of neglecting landslide risks.

The Earth beneath our feet, seemingly solid and dependable, can sometimes shift with alarming fluidity, transforming into a devastating torrent of rock, mud, and debris. Landslides, these silent yet potent threats, have plagued humanity for millennia, leaving behind scars on the landscape and in our collective memory. In recent decades, however, their frequency and ferocity have escalated to a worrying degree, demanding our immediate attention and concerted action.

The stark statistics paint a grim picture. Irasema Alcántara Ayala, a renowned researcher and former director of the Institute of Geography at UNAM, paints a harrowing portrait: since 1900, over 840 landslide disasters have been recorded globally, claiming over 72,000 lives and affecting millions more. These figures, she cautions, represent the lower bound of the true impact, as countless smaller events go undocumented.