Overpopulation and Climate Change: Two Major Challenges for the World
The world could sure use some empathy!
According to a recent article in Britains The Independent, the two major issues confronting the world today are population changes and climate developments. And many of them are not going in a good direction. These are the most formidable challenges we are facing today.
Apparently the magnitude of the problems is such that they cannot be solved, mankind has to find a way to cope with them. More specifically, governments have to find a way to cope with them. Which means that someone will have to make sure the pressure is on the governments or whichever politician is currently responsible for dealing with environmental issues, because otherwise it can all quickly be forgotten. After all, if the sun is still shining and the planet is still there when we wake up in the morning, most people will think there is nothing to worry about. Wrong! And preventive measures need to be taken now, before it’s too late, and while there’s still time. The idea is to realistically accept that climate change or overpopulation are not solvable overnight, but also not make the existing problems worse. Keep the wolf (of cosmic proportions) at a distance, so to speak.
Making sure that the government will retain its empathy toward planet Earth in a long-term sense is a difficult goal to achieve. Especially since both of the challenges include their share of controversy, not to mention a difference of opinion from various nations involved. The UN’s estimate for now is that the world’s population will grow from 7 to 9.3 billion by 2050. There are those who believe this will not cause any long-term problems for humanity. Plans to bring down this estimated figure haven’t been introduced so far.
Another question is, of course, feeding this extra two billion people. Will it be possible in 38 years? Will Earth’s resources hold out long enough? If the population really does grow so much, what impact will it have on planning sustainable use of the Earth’s resources?
Here are just some of the figures from the UN estimate on population growth for individual countries.
Bangladesh: 148 million to 194 million.
Pakistan: 189 million to 274 million.
Kenya: 40 million to 96 million.
Niger: 15 million to 55 million.
There are other concerns to keep in mind besides feeding a growing population, such as the economic situation in some countries that are plagued by consistently high poverty levels. This will definitely become a more pressing problem if the population numbers will reach those estimated. Another question is, at what cost to the planet keeping nations above water will happen.
In short, the area of sustainable development needs a major revamp to be able to deal with these estimates if they really happen, which is why representatives from various world organizations are meeting in Rio de Janeiro to attempt to set some environmental goals on a global scale. Among the participants are heads of state from Russia, India and China – countries that definitely have to rethink their environmental policies. US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, will not be coming. The main areas to be tackled are water, food and energy. The proposed date of starting to work for them is from 2015 onwards. The risk lies of course in being thwarted by a climate that keeps changing.
The article notes, however, that climate change has a lower place on the world agenda, as many countries are preoccupied with the economic recession, and see global warming as something that is still far off in the future.
But is it? Active empathy for environmental projects is definitely called for.
Image Note: John McConnel /Wikimedia/CC