It’s good for Christians to know what’s going on in the world, and intentional efforts should be made to understand what prevelant beliefs are in secular society.
When asking people on the street the question, “What’s the biggest problem in the world?” you’re going to get a bunch of different answers.
As I mentioned in earlier posts, I’ve recently done a bit of research on this, and in honor of David Letterman I’d like to share with you the top ten biggest problems in the world according to secular society along with a brief explanation of each.
Here we go:
10. Species Extinction
Today, human activities are causing a massive extinction of species, the full implications of which are barely understood. Rising ocean temperatures reduce the ability of plankton to reproduce, thereby undermining the entire oceanic ecosystem.
Commercial fishing’s increasing size and scope threaten to empty of the ocean of fish within several decades.
Modern agricultural practices strip the Earth of its thin layer of topsoil through water and wind erosion, destroying this precious micro ecosystem that takes centuries to form and supports all life on land.
Furthermore, bee populations are plummeting, and over 70% of our food is pollinated by bees; if bee populations fall too far, our food supplies will be seriously threatened. . .
9. Radical Islam/Terrorism
The destabilization of modern civilization by terroristic attacks carried out upon civilian populations.
This modern day problem is an assault upon the ideals and expression of freedom, and has the potential to convert free societies into police states.
Civil wars in small, poor countries cause untold suffering, and half of them are renewed flare-ups of recent conflicts. A single conflict can cost $250 billion or more, takes many years to recover from and can block all other humanitarian interventions.
A large scale war in current times has the potential to destroy modern civilization as we know it.
7. Nuclear Proliferation
The acquisition or development of nuclear weapons by governments or groups intent on using them has the potential to lead to all out nuclear war thereby threatening the existence of all living things.
6. Malnutrition and Hunger
Despite significant reductions in income poverty in recent years, undernutrition remains widespread. Recent estimates from UNICEF (2006) are that “one out of every four children under five – or 146 million children in the developing world – is underweight for his or her age”, and that “each year, …undernutrition contributes to the deaths of about 5.6 million children under the age of five”.
5. Global Water Crisis
Water – the essential ingredient for life on this planet – is becoming an increasingly scarce resource. According to the World Bank and World Health Organization, 2 billion people lack access to clean water and 1 billion people do not have enough to even meet their daily needs.
Every day an increasing amount of pollution seeps into rivers and lakes making them toxic to humans, and underground aquifers – our most significant sources of water – are being depleted at an alarming rate.
If current trends continue more and more useable water will be lost while the world population continues to grow larger and larger.
4. Global Population Growth
The world is currently growing at a rate of 79,000,000 people per year – more than ever before – and as more time passes that number will rapidly increase. The world population is predicted to be over 10 billion in 40 years, and will become greater and greater as the ever-growing human species continues to breed.
Here’s a graph to illustrate current growth trends:
As this graph illustrates, the growth isn’t expected to stop. Many believe the earth’s resources will be depleted to the point that mass starvation and disease epidemics will plague mankind unless this growth is curbed.
3. Peak Oil/Energy Consumption
Petroleum powers 96% of the transportation on the planet and is the key ingredient in plastics and fertilizers. Its integral role in human civilization cannot be overestimated – without it modern life would be impossible. Over the last century, the global petroleum supply could be counted on to meet demand; today however, the situation appears to be changing.
The developing world – led by China and India – is modernizing at a blistering pace, and their appetite for oil is driving up demand all over the globe. At the same time, production is declining in all but a few countries.
For decades, scientists, government officials, and business leaders have warned of Peak Oil, the point at which global petroleum production reaches its maximum level and begins to drop.
2. Global Economic Collapse
The global economy binds together the fate of the international community and all its member nations. It precludes the possibility of a third World War, and exposes individuals all over the world to new ideas, products, and information. Today, the world economy is facing two looming crises.
The U.S., by far the world’s largest and most powerful economy, is completely in debt at the individual, institutional, and governmental levels. The Dollar is at its lowest rate in years, and the fundamental driver of the US economy – the housing market – appears to be coming undone.
Many experts believe we’re on the brink of global economic depression, and if the markets fail the infrastructure of modern civilization will collapse causing modern ways of living to drastically change.
1. Global Warming
Due to the steady stream of attention this issue has gotten in the last few years, many believe global warming is the preeminent danger to human civilization today.
It is believed that the rising global temperature threatens to create catastrophic weather systems, crop failures, disease outbreaks, and water shortages worldwide.
Global warming advocates say emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane are trapping heat within the Earths’ atmosphere, slowly increasing the overall temperature. These emissions are the byproduct of our modern way of life, and to halt them would require a voluntary shift in the very structure of our society, a move unprecedented in human history.
Advocates also believe to take no action against global warming would be to alter the very chemical composition of our planet.
They believe life on Earth evolved over hundreds of millions of years to survive within very specific conditions, and any change in those conditions will breed a myriad of disasters.
So what do you think?
While most of these represent an actual problem (I’m convinced one or two aren’t problems at all), I don’t believe any represent the biggest problem in the world.
Not even close.