Thanks to many developments in all aspects of life, our living standards have been raised considerably. With the help of technology, we produce not only enough food to consume but also for restoration. We can cure the majority of our health problems with the aid of medical advances, and the list goes on and on. We stand at the top of the food chain, and we are so predominant that we can take full advantages of other species and the environment. However, it is our happiness that leads to a lot of urgent global issues, about which everyone should be concerned. And here is the list of the most controversial problems worldwide that English learners of any level should know.
1.Climate change and global warming
- Global warming refers to the gradual increase in the temperature of the Earth’s surface. Within more than a century, the average surface temperature has increased by 0.9 degrees Celsius.
- Climate change is a change in global or regional climate patterns. Specifically, it indicates the rise in the Earth’s temperatures from the mid 20th century to present, so there are striking similarities between these phenomena
Causes: Many factors contribute to the worsening of the situation, but the leading cause is human activities: burning fossil fuels, cutting down trees, agriculture and farming, etc.
Effects: melting ice, rising sea levels, extreme weather, etc, all of which pose huge threats to the environment and human societies.
Overpopulation is an undesirable situation in which large numbers of people exceed the capacity of the Earth. The time for the world population to increase by 1 billion is getting shorter and shorter. Currently, China and India are the most densely populated countries in the world.
Causes: Overpopulation can be the result of increased birth rate, declined mortality rate, better medical services, etc.
- Severe shortages of food because of the enormous demands.
- Destruction of the environment is bound to happen as a result of humans’ over-exploitation.
- A dramatic rise in unemployment
Definition: the practice of treating people of a particular group less fairly than others because of their sex, age, etc, and they can be classified into two main types: racial discrimination and gender discrimination.
- Racial discrimination is the most severe in the United States, and it has been around for quite a long time. In the past, white people could enjoy their citizenship and had the right to vote, receive education, immigrate, etc. which is not the case to other races and ethnic minorities. Today the situation is improved, but many white people still have the misconception that they are superior to people of color.
- Gender discrimination can affect anyone, but its primary victims are females, especially in Southeast Asia areas. People tend to think that earning money is men’s possibility, and women should only stay at home, do household chores and take care of the students. Even if they go to work, they receive much lower salary and positions compared to those enjoyed by men. Up till now, only six countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden) give women equal work rights as men. According to recent data collected from 75 countries, which account for 80% of the world population, half of the respondents think that men are better than women when it comes to leadership. More than 40% believe that men perform better at running businesses. Most disappointingly, about one third (including both sexes) say that it is acceptable for men to hit women.
Definition and current situation: Deforestation is the act of clearing a wide area of trees. According to the World Wildlife Fund, forests make up over 30% of the world’s land surface. In 2017, above 15.8 million hectares of forest were cut down, which meant that every minute 40 football stadiums of forests were lost. It is still an ongoing issue in many countries around the world, and humans’ quality of life, as well as biodiversity, is in danger.
- Trees are needed for building or sold as fuel.
- Cleared lands are used as pastures for plantation.
- People are not fully aware of the threats caused by deforestation
- Loose forest management makes it easy for people to freely cut down trees.
- Various plant and animal species risk losing their habitats, as forests are home to 80% of terrestrial biodiversity.
- Forests are the green lungs of the Earth as they remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air. Without these lungs, the air is more heavily polluted, thus causing us to have breathing problems such as asthma or lung cancer.
While many people live in comfortable conditions and enjoy luxurious commodities, the underprivileged out there cannot even meet their basic needs (food, clothes, shelter, etc.). By 2015, only 10% of the world population lived in poverty, and they even suffer the most when natural disasters strike. In 2004, 230.000 people were killed by the Indian Ocean tsunami, and all of them were from poor countries such as Sri Lanka and Indonesia. An earthquake hit Chile and New Zealand in 2010, and while 500 fatalities were reported in Chile, the figure of New Zealand was zero. Poverty made the difference.
Africa is currently the poorest continent in the world. According to the World Bank, on average, an African has less than $1.25 to live. More than 20% of them are considered malnourished due to severe shortages of food, and being able to live in such a place is an “honor”. In Sub-Saharan areas, 1 out of 11 children died before his fifth birthday, not to mention the region’s high crime rates and diseases. They do not even have fresh water to drink, and, of course, to take a bath, so sanitation conditions there are also very poor. All of the above problems stem from the nightmare called poverty.
Above are five of the most pressing problems all over the world, which will accompany you as you progress to a higher level. They all have impacts on us, whether we realize that or not, and we should feel happy if we are not directly affected by the above issues. To help relieve the situations, you do not necessarily donate money or do something significant. Instead, you already help reduce air pollution if you travel by bus or eat organic food, thus slowing down global warming. Small acts make big differences, so find out other ways to make other urgent problems less serious.