Two recent posts highlighted four major concerns for our planet. To summarize, I mentioned our aging population and growing prevalence of obesity as two overarching concerns that don’t get talked about enough. Two more are highlighted when I mentioned the diminishing fresh water supply and encroaching seas as key concerns. Today, I want to highlight two additional concerns – corruption and growing population.
Corruption in government officials is epidemic throughout the world, irrespective of the type of government. It gets the most press in places where there is an autocratic leader, but it is pervasive in democratically elected leaders as well. Even here in the United States, it requires so much money to get elected, an oligarchy has a heavy hand in who runs for office and who gets elected. Plus, elected officials invariably leave office with far more wealth than when they came in, sometimes going to nice lobbying or peripheral jobs to government where income levels are significant.
What this means varies but it is a version of the same plot line. When money is involved, the disenfranchised people have very little voice. In third world and even in second world countries, monies that are earmarked for those in need do not make it to the intended audience. Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was worth $81 Billion when he was overthrown during Arab spring by those who squeaking by on less than $2 per day. In Russia, if you make too much money, your business and assets could be seized, as the oligarchy there needs to be fed. In both Venezuela and Argentina corruption accusations abound. Even here in the US, leaders cannot consider tangible issues, as their funders do not want them to.
Yemen is a very poor country with no resources and provides labor to rich oil countries like Saudi Arabia. Yemeni people could be described as a waiting room for hired labor. It is poor and will be kept poor. So, it becomes a fertile ground for the disenfranchised to hear the compelling stories of terrorists, who will use them for their purpose. In some people’s minds, they have little to lose, yet they don’t know they are being sold a bill of goods. They just know what they have is not working out. So, until we address corruption and can start using money to build industry, trade and infrastructure, terrorism will always find them.
The second concern is our growing population. With around 8 billion people our earth is having a hard time supporting us. It will get worse as we continue to grow. A British study showed that the earth can tolerate about 16 million, provided we consume resources like the average Rwandan. If we consume like the average North American, the earth can only support less than 3 billion people.
This is showing up around the world. In China, when you get away from the coastal cities, rampant poverty can be discovered. India has a severe caste system and for all of its beauty and industry, there is a huge poverty problem which is larger than the population of North America. The poorer countries will be hit the hardest by the resource drain and impact of climate change.
In the US, we have two Americas, the “have” and the “have-nots” who are growing in number. The “haves” do not understand the advantages they have and the opportunities the “have-nots” do not get. So, our “have-nots” will be exposed to resource concerns as we grow in population. Every where around the globe, there is a high correlation between family size and poverty. We must have realistic discussion about sex education and birth control, or we will fulfill our own prophesy. Plus, birth control can help in these impoverished parts of the globe by controlling the transmittal of disease from STD to AIDS to fistula due to young mothers giving birth to soon.
These areas must be addressed or we will see more of all of the other problems we are dealing with. Terrorism, pandemics, women and children being trafficked and resource issues will only continue and become worse problems. Let’s help focus on the real problems and do something about them.