Perspective

The Profusion of Global Challenges

Neal Shusterman

Try to see things differently - It's the only way to get a clearer perspective
on the world and on your life.


The Millennium Project

The Global Challenges

Climate change is but one of many growing global challenges threating humanity. The Milennium Project has defined a framework of fifteen global challenges to assess the global and local prospects for humanity.

Detailed descriptions, regional viewpoints, assessments and strategies for their resolution are updated annually here.

"The Global Challenges are transnational in nature and transinstitutional in solution. They cannot be addressed by any government or institution acting alone. They require collaborative action among governments, international organizations, corporations, universities, NGOs, and creative individuals."

The challenges can be summarized with the following questions:


1. How can sustainable development be achieved for all while addressing global climate change?
2. How can everyone have sufficient clean water without conflict?
3. How can population growth and resources be brought into balance?
4. How can genuine democracy emerge from authoritarian regimes?
5. How can decision making be enhanced by integrating improved global foresight during unprecedented accelerating change?
6. How can the global convergence of information and communications technologies work for everyone?
7. How can ethical market economies be encouraged to help reduce the gap between rich and poor?
8. How can the threat of new and reemerging diseases and immune micro-organisms be reduced?
9. How can education make humanity more intelligent, knowledgeable, and wise enough to address its global challenges?
10. How can shared values and new security strategies reduce ethnic conflicts, terrorism, and the use of weapons of mass destruction?
11. How can the changing status of women help improve the human condition?
12. How can transnational organized crime networks be stopped from becoming more powerful and sophisticated global enterprises?
13. How can growing energy demands be met safely and efficiently?
14. How can scientific and technological breakthroughs be accelerated to improve the human condition?
15. How can ethical considerations become more routinely incorporated into global decisions?

Sense of Urgency

While Americans increasingly acknowledge global warming and climate change, many still don't understand the immediacy of this growing existential threat. A recent Gallop poll revealed that American voters rated climate change as their 11th most important issue when voting.

Gallup

Issue perception, of course, is strongly influenced by media attention and bias. Mainstream media plays a significant role in shaping public awareness as well as framing political narratives on key issues. What media covers, what it chooses not to cover, how stories are reported, and the relative priority a story is given are all critical factors in public engagement.

Greta Thunberg

Ultimately though, it the responsibility of every individual to research and better understand the issue. To engage, discuss and influence family, friends, neighbors, educators and politicians. Governments need to make climate change action their top policy priority. While some leaders start to recognize and address the issue, many others still need to be convinced or removed.

An Holistic Approach

While this site focuses on global climate change, there are numerous online resources addressing the other interdependent global challenges outlined above. One site of particular interest is Resilience.org. This site addresses the interdependency of these challenges and their implications for geopolitics, ecology, population, finance, urban design, and health. They advocate community resilience:

"The interconnected environmental, energy, economic, and equity crises of the 21st century are posing complex and often-unpredictable challenges to communities around the world. But conventional forms of urban planning, design, and governance—often centralized, hierarchical, and inflexible—are ill-suited to these new realities. It’s time to go beyond piecemeal urban sustainability efforts and meaningfully equip our communities for the the challenges. It’s time to build our communities’ resilience."


Zig Ziglar

We cannot start over, but we can begin now, and make a new beginning.