“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek,” Barack Obama.
Let’s face it, it does not look like the most inspiring title for an article, does it? However, it is very important to know what is going on in the world because you belong to the next generation and you will need to take decisive action in order to survive.
Firstly, this list is not exhaustive and is not in order of importance.
Let’s start with deforestation. It is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is afterwards converted to other nonforest uses, such as urban development, farmland or pasture. It has been estimated that about half of the Earth’s tropical forests have now been cleared.
Pollution refers to the contamination of the Earth’s environment caused by mankind. It includes water (dumping of untreated wastewater and chemical contaminants) and air pollution (industries, motor vehicles), soil contamination, littering, etc.
Many scientists agree that from one-third to one-half of all species could become extinct by 2050. Most extinctions are caused by habitat destruction (urbanization, agriculture, logging, mining), pollution, over exploitation (hunting, fishing), and the introduction of invasive species.
According to the United Nations, world population is expected to reach 8 billion by 2024. Human overpopulation is a very sensitive topic, but it has been associated with global warming, pollution, water scarcity, malnutrition, and over explotation of natural resources amongst other problems.
Global Warming (the rise in temperature of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans) is, without a doubt, a very serious problem. It will probably cause a rise in sea levels, extreme weather, severe food and water shortages, and species extinction.
Water scarcity refers to the shortage of safe (unpolluted) drinking water. Almost one billion people do not have access to clean water and two and a half billion lack basic sanitation.
Famine is, as Ireland’s President Higgins put it, “the greatest ethical failure of the current global system.” It is the scarcity of food in a certain area or region. It results in malnutrition and death by starvation and disease.
There is almost one billion starving people in the world! Famine is caused by poor food distribution, poverty, crop failures caused by natural disasters, and crop destruction due to warfare among other reasons. It leads to poverty (the poor can’t feed themselves or their families, so they become weak and malnourished which makes them unable to work) and violent conflicts.
Absolute poverty refers to the lack of sufficient resources necessary to meet basic human needs such as food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, clothing, education, and information. There are 734 million people living in extreme poverty.
As we are using fossil, non-renewable fuels as the basis of the economy, many fear that peak oil (i.e. the point where the maximum rate of extraction of petroleum is reached) will result not only in dramatic price rises, but also a complete collapse of the global economy.
The Great Depression of 1929 in the United States is used as an example of how quickly an economy can decline or collapse. Many regard an economic collapse as inevitable due to overpopulation, a demographic crisis with an increasingly aging population that requires social support services, resource shortages, excessive unemployment rate, unsustainable debt levels (the global credit bubble), inadequate economic policies, and peak oil.
Terrorism is the use of intentional violence for political or religious purposes. 28,082 people were killed by terrorists in 2019. Over the previous decade the average number of annual deaths was 21,000.
War and terrorism are not easy to accept or understand, and yet they are amongst the biggest problems facing our world. “Every minute, two people are killed in conflicts around the world,” BBC News.
The problem is exacerbated due to nuclear proliferation. It refers to the spread of nuclear weapons by purchase or technological development among nations. It increases the risk of nuclear war, nuclear terrorism, instability, and further weapons proliferation.
Censorship is the control or suppression of ideas and information that certain individuals, groups, or governments find objectionable, harmful, inconvenient, or even dangerous. Many citizens regard their access to information as a fundamental right and a force for good.
Any form of abuse is a big deal, too. It ruins many people’s lives and takes many different forms: physical abuse (intending to cause pain or injury), rape, child abuse and neglect (physical or emotional mistreatment of children), school bullying, discrimination, etc.
Others: Artificial Intelligence and cybersecurity, killer robots (weapon systems that can select, attack, and destroy targets without meaningful human control), superbugs (bacteria with multidrug resistance), bio-hacking, etc.