The arguments put forth by Lester Brown are not an overstatement but rather a true reflection of the current global environmental, economic and demographic challenges. The world is changing at unprecedented levels; countries are now more interdependent than in the past, this has shrunk the world into a global village. The world is growing smaller, and activities or events in one region have a greater influence and impact on other areas of the world. The existence of border does not limit the impacts of environmental, economic or demographic challenges. This essay seeks to affirm that countries globally are facing a storm of demographic, economic and environmental challenges.
Over the last few decades, the world has experienced increased environmental issues. A lot of factors are pegged to the increased environmental challenges throughout the world. The population is growing at an alarming rate; there is increased the need to new technical power to cut faster, dig deeper, traverse and build larger in trucks, planes, and automobiles. The climate is drastically changing. Earth is warming up and has resulted in increased scientific consensus with a majority of the arguments claiming that the effects are human induced (Stern, 2006). One of the biggest environmental problems facing the current world is the increased effects of pollution. Water, air, and soil pollution are at an almost perfect storm. This is pegged mainly on the increased number of companies, industries and automobile exhaust that directly expose their wastes into the environment. The number of automobiles purchased over the last decade has more than doubled; these automobiles emit exhaust to the environment which has resulted in extreme effects on the environment (Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, 2000). Similarly, industries expose their wastes on water sources and the gasses emitted to the atmosphere.
Furthermore, there has also been increased use of heavy metals, nitrates and plastics have also caused pollution. Water pollution has been mainly as a result of oil spills, acid rain, and urban runoff. Similarly, soil pollution takes place when industrial effluents are added into the soil and depletes the essential minerals and nutrients in the soil. Global warming is regarded as a grave environmental problem and has even been named as a global problem. It is mainly as a result of greenhouse effects.
Impacts of global warming are dire. There is an excessive influx of the harmful rays to the earth which is detrimental to the human skin. The world has also experienced a drastic increase in its population. The increase has resulted in a strain of the natural resources such as water and food. Statistics show that nearly all of the developing countries have exceeded their population limits. The available natural resources can hardly sustain the current population. This has prompted the population to engage in other techniques to try and increase the yields from agriculture. For instance, they have increased the use of pesticides and fertilizers to produce more food; this has led to the destruction of the environment exponentially. Another environmental menace is about the challenge of waste disposal. Disposal of nuclear products is threatening the well-being of the human population. It is, therefore, evident that the prevailing environmental issues are at their peak, and there is an urgent need to mitigate these environmental challenges to improve the wellbeing of the world’s population.
Economic challenges: the world is currently facing a global economic crisis. Numerous countries across the world, especially in the third world countries, are experiencing scarcity of the resources that can sustain its population. There are different economic problems that create an unexpected combination of low growth, increased government debt and also increased cases of unemployment. What is startling is that there is no effective strategy to maintain the current economic slump. Furthermore, there are frailties and weaknesses in the banking sector. Based on the current debt defaults as well as the economic slump increases the risks of future bank failures and increased financial turmoil. Economists argue that the economic problems will continue to exacerbate.
The living conditions of a majority of the people from developing countries are continuing to deteriorate. A majority of the global economic challenges are primary as a result of the increased population (Sandler, 1997). Some of the causes of global economic problems include the low consumption rate, global imbalances, conflicts and poverty, competition in the current era of globalization, economic exclusion in the Middle East, and the rise of new powers. When there are increased conflicts, the number of economic activities taking place is less. This, in turn, results in a strain on the available resources which consequently results in deteriorated living conditions of the populations. Conflicts such as those in Syria and Somalia have negatively affected the overall state of the world’s global condition. Globalization has also negatively affected the global economy, for instance, the current recession is caused by the related banking crisis and also by the credit crunch. The negative impacts of globalization on the global economy include global inequality where some countries have a relatively stable economy whereas others have extremely deteriorated economic conditions. This also results in unequal economic development, exhaustion of natural resources, global poverty and also systematic challenges linked with inadequate control and regulation of the financial market.
Demographic challenges: It is no doubt that over the past decade, the world has experienced a drastic increase in its overall population. The substantial increase in the population has resulted in a lot of challenges, especially in developing countries. An increase in population results in a consequent strain on the limited available resources. A strain on the resources subsequently results in poor living conditions as the available resources do not meet the basic needs of the population. Most governments are finding it hard to provide its citizens with adequate water and food, educational services, health services or just the basic infrastructural facilities (Lee et al. 2013). There have been numerous cases of where citizens die from hunger and have sought for help from other countries. The effects of increased are felt globally.
In conclusion, from the above discussion it is clear that the world is experiencing a perfect storm of economic, demographic and environmental challenges that has greatly affected the well-being of human beings one earth thus Lester Brown from the Earth Policy Institute was out rightly right. It is, therefore, prudent that immediate actions to be put in place to avert the current conditions.
What is the likelihood that renewable energy will be the dominant form of energy within the next few decades?
Due to the adverse impacts of the use of non-renewable energy, there have been numerous campaigns encouraging the use of energy sources that are renewable to protect as well as conserve the environment. For several decades in the past fossil fuels had driven the global economy and sustained the industrial revolution. However, this attitude and perception have changed in the past decade. Fossil fuels were nonrenewable and once depleted cannot be used, and they also have dire effects on the environment and also dramatic health risks. Today, countries across the world realize the adverse effects that are accrued from fossil use. This has led to the increased use of renewable energy sources since they positively impact our ecosystem, health, and economy (Hauss & Haussman, 2013). Statistics from the International Energy Agency show that use of solar, wind and other renewable sources of energy have grown and now produces more than 20% of the entire world’s electricity. Many countries across the world have set aside a lot of capital in renewable sources of energy or rather in green generating systems. In 2013, for instance, more than $250 billion was invested in green systems (Edenhofer, 2012). Despite some politicians becoming nervous of the cost incurred in generating energy, a majority of government institutions are embracing and encouraging the use of renewable sources of energy.
Despite the costs being considered relatively high, the long term impacts of their use are numerous. Hydro as well as other green technologies are predicted to produce more than 26% of world’s energy by the year 2020 (Sørensen, 2011). Therefore, it is recommended that countries embrace the use of energy sources that are renewable. Sources of energy that are renewable can be replenished after a very long time and at a rate of comfort for people as the sources are not depleted. Renewable energy sources produce relatively cleaner fuel which does not emit greenhouse gasses into the environment. Some of the most popular Sources of energy that are renewable include use of the wind, solar and hydro. They can be used for heating water and air, used as fuel for automobiles and also produce power for electricity. All these renewable energy sources accrue a lot of benefits as compared to the demerits gained.
Based on the above discussion, it is clear that there are a lot of benefits gained from the use of renewable sources of energy. The use of fossil fuels have resulted in a lot of adverse effects to the environment and to avert the negative impacts, countries are increasingly changing to the use renewable sources of energy to protect and conserve the environment.
Edenhofer, O., Pichs, M. R., Sokona, Y., United Nations Environment Programme., World Meteorological Organization., Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change., & Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung. (2012). Renewable energy sources and climate change mitigation: Special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. (2000). Global economic integration: Opportunities and challenges : a symposium. New York: Books for Business.
Hauss, C., & Haussman, M. (2013). Comparative politics: Domestic responses to global challenges. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Lee, B. Y., Bacon, K. M., Bottazzi, M. E., & Hotez, P. J. (2013). The global economic burden of Chagas disease: a computational simulation model. The Lancet infectious diseases, 13(4), 342-348.
Sandler, T. (1997). Global challenges: An approach to environmental, political, and economic problems. Cambridge [u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Sørensen, B. (2011). Renewable energy: Physics, engineering, environmental impacts, economics & planning. Burlington, MA: Academic Press.
Stern, Nicholas Herbert. Stern Review: The economics of climate change. Vol. 30. London: HM treasury, 2006.