Today we are faced with major worldwide issues that appear all consuming and unending due to their scale or entrenched nature, but we know from our history that deep injustices can be righted by everyday individuals making a stand. Here are five of the many concerns that need immediate widespread action as part of our ongoing progress as a species.
Duration : 2 min to read
Poverty and Inequality
The six heirs of Walmart own between them as much money as the one hundred and eighty million poorest Americans put together. It’s an incredible and horrifying fact that requires consideration to fully understand – 180,000,000 is an unimaginable amount of people, and the personal net worth of those six individuals is equally as unimaginable. It is a fact that neatly illustrates the absurd and galling inequality in the distribution of resources even in one of the world’s most influential superpowers, but rather than accepting it as inescapable fact, it’s important to use statistics like this one as arguments for change.
Powerful individuals and organisations fervently deny climate change because of how much it might damage their incomes. The implications of being environmentally ethical might in some cases cease a company’s operations entirely. But the facts are irrefutable and the planet is being fundamentally damaged by our actions, so it’s time to change course. Take a look at www.greenpeace.org.uk/climate/what-you-can-do for some ideas on how to pitch in – petitioning local governments is a particularly strong course of action.
A strong example of the human race’s vastly damaging impact on the planet is the massive decrease in the global bee population, which can be directly linked to our widespread use of pesticides. A recent Harvard study found that not only are bees suffering from frequent contact with neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely used insecticide, they also are naturally evolved to transfer the things they come into contact with back into their hives, which frequently wipes out entire colonies of the species. In case you need further and more personally effecting evidence that we need to do something about this, Albert Einstein is quoted as giving humanity only four years to live if bees entirely disappeared.
Genetically modified organisms are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. There are significant restrictions in over sixty countries of their production and sale, but the United States and many other nations have approved them based on studies conducted by the same corporations that benefit and profit from the GMO market. The impact has already been vast – the use of toxic herbicides has multiplied by fifteen since GMOs were introduced, and the subsequent emergence of “super bugs” and “super weeds” is now being combated by ever more harmful chemicals, including 2,4-D, which is an ingredient of Agent Orange.
Edward Snowden’s achievements were awarded at the end of 2014 by Sweden’s Right Livelihood human rights awards, which honoured his courage and skill in his exposure of the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and prosecutional rights. His revelations and those of Chelsea Manning are some of the greatest demonstrations of the Orwellian surveillance society the internet has helped to create. Though pioneers such as Tim Berners-Lee campaign against the routine interception of data by governments around the world, the problem isn’t limited to online – the UK has 4.2million CCTV cameras, which averages at approximately one camera for every fourteen people.
Bringing about actual positive change can begin with a full understanding of the problems we need to tackle. Our listed five are amongst the many inequalities and injustices that go on around us – it’s important to take a stand and continue take immediate action whilst we still have a planet to save, a diverse population to celebrate, and freedom to cherish.