Essay On National And International Issues Affecting
Environmental issues are harmful effects of human activity on the biophysical environment. Environmental protection is a practice of protecting the natural environment on individual, organizational or governmental levels, for the benefit of both the environment and humans. Environmentalism, a social and environmental movement, addresses environmental issues through advocacy, education and activism.
The carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere has already exceeded 400 parts per million (NOAA) (with total "long-term" GHG exceeding 455 parts per million) (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report). This level is considered a tipping point. "The amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is already above the threshold that can potentially cause dangerous climate change. We are already at risk of many areas of pollution...It's not next year or next decade, it's now." The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has stated "Climate change is not just a distant future threat. It is the main driver behind rising humanitarian needs and we are seeing its impact. The number of people affected and the damages inflicted by extreme weather has been unprecedented." Further, OCHA has stated:
Climate disasters are on the rise. Around 70 percent of disasters are now climate related – up from around 50 percent from two decades ago.
These disasters take a heavier human toll and come with a higher price tag. In the last decade, 2.4 billion people were affected by climate related disasters, compared to 1.7 billion in the previous decade. The cost of responding to disasters has risen tenfold between 1992 and 2008.
Destructive sudden heavy rains, intense tropical storms, repeated flooding and droughts are likely to increase, as will the vulnerability of local communities in the absence of strong concerted action.
Environment destruction caused by humans is a global problem, and this is a problem that is on going every day. By year 2050, the global human population is expected to grow by 2 billion people, thereby reaching a level of 9.6 billion people (Living Blue Planet 24). The human effects on Earth can be seen in many different ways. A main one is the temperature rise, and according to the report ”Our Changing Climate”, the global warming that has been going on for the past 50 years is primarily due to human activities (Walsh, et al. 20). Since 1895, the U.S. average temperature has increased from 1.3 °F to 1.9 °F, with most of the increase taken place since around year 1970 (Walsh, et al. 20).
Main articles: List of environmental issues and List of environmental disasters
Major current environmental issues may include climate change, pollution, environmental degradation, and resource depletion etc. The conservation movement lobbies for protection of endangered species and protection of any ecologically valuable natural areas, genetically modified foods and global warming.
The level of understanding of Earth has increased markebly in recent times through science especially with the application of the scientific method. Environmental science is now a multi-disciplinary academic study taught and researched at many universities. This is used as a basis for addressing environmental issues.
Large amounts of data have been gathered and these are collated into reports, of which a common type is the State of the Environment publications. A recent major report was the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, with input from 1200 scientists and released in 2005, which showed the high level of impact that humans are having on ecosystem services.
Main article: Environmental organization
Environmental issues are addressed at a regional, national or international level by government organizations.
The largest international agency, set up in 1972, is the United Nations Environment Programme. The International Union for Conservation of Nature brings together 83 states, 108 government agencies, 766 Non-governmental organizations and 81 international organizations and about 10,000 experts and scientists from countries around the world. International non-governmental organizations include Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and World Wide Fund for Nature. Governments enact environmental policy and enforce environmental law and this is done to differing degrees around the world.
See also: Cost of pollution and Cost of global warming
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(October 2016)
|“||The only question is whether [the world's environmental problems] will become resolved in pleasant ways of our own choice, or in unpleasant ways not of our choice, such as warfare, genocide, starvation, disease epidemics, and collapses of societies.||”|
|— Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive|
Sustainability is the key to prevent or reduce the effect of environmental issues. There is now clear scientific evidence that humanity is living unsustainably, and that an unprecedented collective effort is needed to return human use of natural resources to within sustainable limits. For humans to live sustainably, the Earth's natural resources must be used at a rate at which they can be replenished (and by limiting global warming).
Concerns for the environment have prompted the formation of green parties, political parties that seek to address environmental issues. Initially these were formed in Australia, New Zealand and Germany but are now present in many other countries.
Film and television
Main article: Environmental issues in film and television
There are an increasing number of films being produced on environmental issues, especially on climate change and global warming. Al Gore's 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth gained commercial success and a high media profile.
- ^Eccleston, Charles H. (2010). Global Environmental Policy: Concepts, Principles, and Practice. Chapter 7. ISBN 978-1439847664.
- ^OCHA. "Climate Change - Humanitarian Impact". Archived from the original on 2016-04-04. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
- ^OCHA. "Climate Change - Threats and Solutions". Archived from the original on 2016-04-07. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
- ^Living Blue Planet Report(PDF). WWF. 2015. ISBN 978-2-940529-24-7.
- ^"Our Changing Climate"(PDF).
- ^"National Climate Assessment". National Climate Assessment. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
- ^"About". IUCN. 2014-12-03. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
- ^Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, Penguin Books, 2011, chapter "The world as a polder: what does it all mean to us today?", section "If we don't solve them...", page 498 (ISBN 978-0-241-95868-1).
- ^Gismondi, M. (2000). Interview of Dr. William Rees. Aurora Online. Retrieved on 2009-03-10
- ^Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005). Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Biodiversity Synthesis. Summary for Decision-makers. pp.1-16. Washington, DC.: World Resources Institute. The full range of reports is available on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment web siteArchived August 13, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on: 2009-03-10
With the economy humming along and United States troops withdrawn from major wars, Americans cited a variety of domestic problems as the most important. The top response was dissatisfaction with government, a sentiment Mr. Trump harnessed during his populist campaign.
Barack Obama entered his second term after a major budget showdown with Congress and with another fiscal deadline, the federal debt ceiling, approaching. Mr. Obama regularly criticized Republicans for using the debt limit as a bargaining chip to cut spending.
Mr. Obama entered his first term during the heart of the Great Recession. During his first major speech before Congress, he promoted the just-passed stimulus package and the need for the government to further intervene in the financial system.
George W. Bush began his second term two years into the war in Iraq. While he did not mention the country by name in his second inaugural address, he focused heavily on the importance of securing America by spreading freedom and democracy.
Like the start of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the beginning of Mr. Bush’s first term lacked a major war or economic crisis, and Americans cited a variety of important problems. At the top of the list was moral decline in society, which had increasingly become a concern during the scandals of the presidency of Bill Clinton.
Crime was front and center in Americans’ minds during the debate over the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which Bill Clinton signed in 1994. It was still the most-cited problem by the start of Mr. Clinton’s second term in 1997, though its share had decreased.
Mr. Clinton came into office in 1993 in the midst of a recession, with the unemployment rate above 7 percent. But a financial boom soon followed, and by the end of his presidency, very few people still listed the economy as the key problem.
In his first address to a joint session of Congress, George Bush described his plans to wage a war on drugs “on all fronts.” Drugs were cited in more than a quarter of responses in May of 1989 and then in two-thirds of responses later that year.
After years of military buildup and an arms race with the Soviet Union, Ronald Reagan entered his second term pushing for an anti-ballistic missile defense system that he said would “render nuclear weapons obsolete.”
Mr. Reagan began his first term in office in the midst of a recession, with the inflation rate at a whopping 11.4 percent (it had come down slightly from 13.6 percent in June of 1979) and unemployment at 7.5 percent.
Concerns about energy – high prices and depletion of resources – bubbled up several times during Jimmy Carter's presidency. About a third of responses cited the problem during the oil crisis of 1979.
When Gerald Ford assumed the presidency in August 1974, the nation was in the midst of a recession, and the inflation rate was rising rapidly. An early attempt to address the problem, a public campaign called “Whip Inflation Now,” did not last for long.
As the Watergate scandal intensified, President Richard Nixon gave his first address to the nation on the topic in April of his second term, after two of his top aides resigned over the cover-up.
Mr. Nixon won his first presidential election in 1968, the year that American troops in Vietnam peaked at more than 500,000. In his speech accepting the Republican nomination that year, he promised to bring the war to an end.
Nearly a year after Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and just two months into his first full term, civil rights activists held a march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., bringing voting rights to the forefront of Americans’ minds.
Foreign affairs dominating the list of most important problems when John F. Kennedy took office, primarily the threat of war with the Soviet Union and the threat of communism.
At the start of his second term, Dwight D. Eisenhower also faced several problems abroad, including the growing influence of the Soviet Union in the Middle East. No polls are available from the beginning of his first term in 1953, though one from 1952 shows overwhelming concern about the Korean War.
Harry S. Truman began his first full term in office four years after the end of World War II and the formation of the United Nations. Americans were still concerned about the threat of war and keeping the peace.
The United States officially entered World War II in December of 1941, nearly a year into Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third term. A poll the month before reflected Americans’ concerns about the nation’s defenses and involvement in the war.
Gallup began asking the “most important problem” question in 1935, in the midst of the Great Depression and two and a half years into Mr. Roosevelt’s 12-year presidency. The Works Progress Administration, which created millions of jobs in public works projects, was established earlier that year.
The biggest problems cited by Americans this month:
“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth.”
Donald J. Trumpin his inaugural addresson Jan. 20, 2017
“So while I’m willing to compromise and find common ground over how to reduce our deficits, America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they’ve already racked up.”
Barack Obamain a news conferenceon Jan. 14, 2013
“But while the cost of action will be great, I can assure you that the cost of inaction will be far greater, for it could result in an economy that sputters along for not months or years, but perhaps a decade.”
Barack Obamain his first address to Congresson Feb. 24, 2009
“Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom.”
George W. Bushin his second inaugural addresson Jan. 20, 2005
“Our public interest depends on private character, on civic duty and family bonds and basic fairness, on uncounted, unhonored acts of decency, which give direction to our freedom.”
George W. Bushin his first inaugural addresson Jan. 20, 2001
“Serious crime has dropped five years in a row. The key has been community policing. We must finish the job of putting 100,000 community police on the streets of the United States.”
Bill Clintonin his State of the Union addresson Feb. 4, 1997
“Our immediate priority must be to create jobs, create jobs now. Some people say, ‘Well, we’re in a recovery, and we don't have to do that.’ Well, we all hope we’re in a recovery, but we’re sure not creating new jobs.”
Bill Clintonin his first address to Congresson Feb. 17, 1993
“The scourge of drugs must be stopped. And I am asking tonight for an increase of almost a billion dollars in budget outlays to escalate the war against drugs.”
George Bushin his first address to Congresson Feb. 9, 1989
“I have approved a research program to find, if we can, a security shield that would destroy nuclear missiles before they reach their target. It wouldn't kill people, it would destroy weapons. It wouldn't militarize space, it would help demilitarize the arsenals of Earth.”
Ronald Reaganin his second inaugural addresson Jan. 21, 1985
“We don't have an option of living with inflation and its attendant tragedy, millions of productive people willing and able to work but unable to find a buyer for their work in the job market. We have an alternative, and that is the program for economic recovery.”
Ronald Reaganin his first address to Congresson Feb. 18, 1981
“We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now, we can control our future instead of letting the future control us.”
Jimmy Carterin a speech proposing a new energy policyon April 18, 1977
“But I say to you with all sincerity that our inflation, our Public Enemy No. 1, will, unless whipped, destroy our country, our homes, our liberties, our property, and finally our national pride, as surely as any well-armed wartime enemy.”
Gerald Fordin an address to Congress on inflationon Oct. 8, 1974
“We must maintain the integrity of the White House, and that integrity must be real, not transparent, There can be no whitewash at the White House.”
Richard Nixonin a speech about Watergateon April 30, 1973
“And I pledge to you tonight that the first priority foreign policy objective of our next administration will be to bring an honorable end to the war in Vietnam. We shall not stop there — we need a policy to prevent more Vietnams.”
Richard Nixonin his Republican convention speechon Aug. 8, 1968
“There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem. And we are met here tonight as Americans — not as Democrats or Republicans — we are met here as Americans to solve that problem.”
Lyndon B. Johnsonin a speech to Congress on voting rightson March 15, 1965
“Our greatest challenge is still the world that lies beyond the Cold War — but the first great obstacle is still our relations with the Soviet Union and Communist China. We must never be lulled into believing that either power has yielded its ambitions for world domination.”
John F. Kennedyin his first State of the Union addresson Jan. 30, 1961
“The Soviet Union has nothing whatsoever to fear from the United States in the Middle East, or anywhere else in the world, so long as its rulers do not themselves first resort to aggression.”
Dwight D. Eisenhowerin a speech on a new Middle East doctrineon Jan. 5, 1957
“We are supporting a world organization to keep peace and a world economic policy to create prosperity for mankind. Our guiding star is the principle of international cooperation.”
Harry S. Trumanin his State of the Union addresson Jan. 5, 1949
“The need of the moment is that our actions and our policy should be devoted primarily — almost exclusively — to meeting this foreign peril. For all our domestic problems are now a part of the great emergency.”
Franklin D. Rooseveltin his State of the Union addresson Jan. 6, 1941
“We must preserve not only the bodies of the unemployed from destitution but also their self-respect, their self-reliance and courage and determination.”
Franklin D. Rooseveltin his State of the Union addresson Jan. 4, 1935