Reflections: Top Ten Challenges Facing Humanity…
“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.” Joseph Campbell
Yesterday, as I was gathering information for my post on the Nigeria-Biafra Civil war, I came across a 2003 lecture by Nobel Laureate, Richard E. Smalley, in which he identified war as the sixth biggest problem facing mankind for the next fifty years. In the same lecture, he identified ten problems that will face humanity over the next 50 years and the list gave me pause. As I contemplated the impact of the list from a global perspective, it made me wonder where we are headed and what this would mean for the next generation. Below are the ten problems or challenges Richard Smalley outlined. Which of these affect you directly? Which concern you most?
“The fact is that people are good, if only their fundamental wishes are satisfied, their wish for affection and security. Give people affection and security, and they will give affection and be secure in their feelings and their behavior.” Abraham Maslow
Everything we do requires some form of energy, and the consumption of energy has quadrupled over the years. We use gas, electricity, solar, water and other forms of energy to keep it all churning, and there is a greater need for energy conservation. Water is a crucial resource that ties in with energy and food and we need it for our survival. Water covers 70.9% of our Earth‘s surface, is vital for all known forms of life and yet 1 billion people lack access to clean and safe water. This invaluable resource would lead to disease and more if the global supply of clean water is depleted. The same goes for food which is a major issue in areas of great drought. Without adequate food, our bodies and minds suffer, human manpower is wasted, and people, especially children, suffer from the side effects; disease, malaise and mental inactivity. How do we mitigate the impact on our communities? What can we do individually?
“Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Even as we talk about the need to protect and sustain our environment, see the growing movement to go green, manage our carbon footprint, and act consciously by not misusing our natural resources, we are deeply concerned about growing poverty levels worldwide. There are 1.7 billion people living in absolute, abject poverty globally and, as the economic downturn here in the USA and in other parts of the world continue to affect communities and destroy them, the poverty levels will continue to grow. Also, strife, war, and acts of terrorism impact us all. Perhaps, if we look around at global events, at the general dissatisfaction, the protests and demonstrations, and the acts of violence directed at civilians, we might begin to understand that we are all affected by these myriad problems; directly or indirectly. Do you think these problems have any impact on your life? What is your perspective on the Go Green, Global sustainability movement? More below. ;-)
“The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution” Bertrand Russell
If the United Nations statistics are accurate, we have exceeded 7 billion people on our planet earth and our world population continues to explode. With the explosion comes concerns about how to manage our resources to ensure all get some basic needs; food, shelter, education, good health options. The World Health Organization (WHO) fights outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as SARS, malaria, tuberculosis, influenza, and HIV/AIDS, and monitors the spread of diseases worldwide. But with growing populations, there is concern that diseases will continue to spread – with the possibility that fewer resources will be available to handle them. This year, we all witnessed the protests, demonstrations and increased demands for a democratic process in countries worldwide. Some believe the trend will continue…
With the changing winds come a greater need and demand for equitable educational opportunities in countries around the world. An educated populace is one that can contribute to the growth and success of a nation. Only time will tell what will become of the emerging democracies (a result of new governments/leadership in some MidEast nations), and how that will impact the rest of us. For now, we face these ten problems/challenges and others, and my wish is that we remember that we are in this together. Lets help one another, share our goodwill, end our petty hatreds and be part of the solution not the problem. What are your thoughts? Are you concerned about the ten global challenges? What views do you have on the selections and which concerns you the most? Do share! Thank you. :-)
Positive Motivation Tip: While we face problems/challenges in the world, we can make a difference by becoming part of the solution; every act of peace and conscientious living helps.