“This generation enjoys unprecedented technological, scientific and financial resources . . . And yet this is perhaps the first generation to take the world to the brink of a [political, economic, and environmental] systems breakdown.”—The Global Risks Report 2018, World Economic Forum.
WHY ARE MANY INFORMED PEOPLE CONCERNED ABOUT OUR FUTURE AND THAT OF THE EARTH? CONSIDER JUST SOME OF THE CHALLENGES FACING US.
CYBERCRIME: “Increasingly the internet is proving to be a dangerous place to visit. It is a haven for pedophiles, bullies, trolls and hackers,” says the newspaper The Australian. “Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world. . . . The internet provides another outlet for one of the worst traits of humankind—the capacity to be vicious and cruel.”
FINANCIAL INEQUALITY: According to a recent Oxfam International report, the eight richest people own the same amount of wealth as the poorer half of humanity. “Our broken economies,” said Oxfam, “are funnelling wealth to a rich elite at the expense of the poorest in society, the majority of whom are women.” Some fear that the growing inequality might trigger social unrest.
CONFLICT AND PERSECUTION: A 2018 United Nations Refugee Agency report said: “We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record.” More than 68 million people have had to leave their homes, largely because of conflict or persecution. “Nearly 1 person is forcibly displaced every two seconds,” said the report.
THREATS TO THE ENVIRONMENT: “Biodiversity is being lost at mass-extinction rates,” states The Global Risks Report 2018, and “pollution of the air and sea has become an increasingly pressing threat to human health.” Also, insect numbers are in steep decline in some lands. Because insects pollinate plants, scientists are now warning of a potential “ecological Armageddon.” Coral reefs are in trouble too. Scientists estimate that about half the world’s reefs have died in the past 30 years.
Are we able to make the changes needed for a safer and more secure world? Some feel that education should be part of the answer. If so, what kind of education? The following articles will consider these questions.