Change is the law of nature. It is continuous process that goes on uninterruptedly involving phenomena, big and small, material and non-material that make over physical and socio-cultural environment. It is a process present everywhere with variations in terms of magnitude, intensity and scale. Change can be gradual or slow process like the evolution of land forms and organisms and it can be as sudden and swift as volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes and lightening etc.
Natural disasters of 2011: From the earthquake & tsunami in Japan ...
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Similarly, it may remain confined to a smaller area occurring within a few seconds like hailstorms, tornadoes and dust storm, and it can also have global dimensions such as global warming and depletion of the ozone layer.
Besides, these changes have different meanings for different people. It depends upon the perspective one takes while trying to understand them. From the perspective of nature, changes are value-neutral. But from the human perspective, these are value-loaded. There are some changes that are desirable and good like the changes of season, ripening of fruits, while there are others like earthquakes, floods and wars that are considered bad and undesirable.
Natural hazards are elements of circumstances in the natural environment that have the potential to cause harm to people or property or both. These are the phenomena that pose a threat to people, structures or economic assests and which may cause a disaster. They can be man made or naturally occurring in our environment. Broadly, hazards can be classified into three categories depending upon the causes.