5 World Issues That Every American Should Be Aware Of
As Americans, we enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world, we are protected by the strongest military in the world, and our popular culture is probably the most influential in the world. All in all we are the most powerful nation on earth. With that in mind, Americans should be aquainted with these five vital issues that could, if left unchecked, drastically affect our way of life. They are:
- The Emerging China
- Global Warming
- The Diminishing Oil Supply
- The Diminishing Water Supply
According to Robert J. Samuelson, op ed columnist for The Washington Post, somewhere around the year 2025 China's economy will exceed our own. As China feels its strength, it has begun to challenge the framework of rules and acceptable practices that holds the world economy together. In the future, China will be a formidable competitor for the world's dwindling resources. Already its hunger for natural resources has led it into league with potentially dangerous governments like Iran and Sudan. While militarily China poses little threat to the United States today, given sufficient will and resources that could change.
America must engage China diplomatically at every level to constantly promote cooperation between China and the rest of the world. As Americans, we need our government to represent our best interests with China.
Climate change will not likely affect American crops in the foreseeable future, but it will affect food production in developing countries, spreading the devastation of famine and disease across the face of the world. As more nations feel the pressure, political instability becomes more likely. Global warming could make the world a dangerous place.
As Americans, we produce a disproportionate amount of the greenhouse gasses in the world. Each of us needs to care deeply about this issue and correct our lifestyles to reduce the cumulative carbon footprint of our nation.
There is a theory called, "Peak Oil," that suggests that we have or we will soon have reached the peak of world oil production, and thereafter the supply of oil will only diminish. The Peak Oil: After the Oil Crash theory suggests that if supply is too short by as little as ten percent to fully meet demand, an oil-based economy such as the United States will disintegrate.
Whether or not this theory is correct, the implications of our dependence on Middle Eastern oil are serious enough that we should think in terms of breaking this dependence.
As Americans, we all need to use less oil. We can do this by walking or bicycling more and driving less, buying energy efficient vehicles and other appliances, and making small sacrifices such as turning down our thermostats.
But as Americans, known worldwide as the "can do" people, we must wake up and put our knowledge, expertise, and energy into solving this problem. Through research and innovation we can come up with new and better ways to get from place to place and heat and light our homes.
The BBC reports that twenty percent of the people on this planet have no access to clean drinking water, and that by the year 2020 we will need 17% more water than we currently have in order to grow crops to feed the world's population. USA Today reports that by the year 2050 water shortages will affect four billion people. The film, Flow, documents the movement by major world corporations to control all the purest sources of water so that they can bottle it and sell it back to the public.
America should take the lead in pioneering the human right to clean drinking water. Every human being should have air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat. As the most powerful nation on earth, we should encourage, teach, and equip to world to use water frugally so that our collective human future does not go down the drain.
As Americans we should learn that every drop of pure water is too precious to waste, and we should behave accordingly.
The more people there are, the more energy they will need, the more water they will drink, the more greenhouse gasses and other waste they will produce, the more pressure the human race will exert upon our planet.
The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that the population of the world, if it continues to increase at the present rate, will reach nine billion by the year 2040. According to the National Institutes of Health, the food supply would need to be increased by 4% each year to keep pace. Developing countries will, of course have the biggest problem in this regard, since many already do not produce enough food to adequate feed their people. Sanitary conditions are also inadequate, promoting disease and suffering, and this will only get worse as the population continues to grow.
As Americans we must make reproductive responsibility one of our most cherished ideals. We must teach it to our children and we must teach it to the world, because not only does the population need to stop growing, it needs to decrease. Either way it means that some of us are going to have to decide not to reproduce. The right to reproduce is something we hold most sacred, yet soon we may have to weigh it against our very survival. I pray that God will give us the wisdom we need.
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