Both the creation and the recognition of environmental problems depend closely on the way society is organized and on its values and objectives. Changes in the relationship between man and his physical environment depend to a large degree on changes in the organization and aims of society.
Man-environment relationships refer to the interactions and feedback between the human
and the natural components and, consequently, to the linkages between the social and the
geophysical systems. The field of man-environment relationships operates with a series of
concepts and notions. They refer to the causes of environmental change, feedback and
consequences for the communities, answers of the decision-makers, etc.
Analysis of recent trends shows significant regional disparities in losses, particularly between developed and developing regions. Financial losses associated with natural hazards are highest among the developed countries, such as the USA, where natural hazard losses exceed those of many other national social problems, including fire and crime.
In the developing world, in contrast, the costs are largely measured in terms of human suffering and hardship. Many low-income populations are forced to occupy illegal settlements on low-lying lands, steep hillsides, floodplains or other hazard-prone areas.
They are very vulnerable to significant health risks from flooding, landslides, mud slides and other natural hazards, and their dwellings and infrastructure are subject to accidents, massive damage and collapse.
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