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Seven Worst Things in the World Part II
Over the last several decades, the human population has been growing exponentially yielding to tremendous problems in society. Overpopulation is becoming increasingly dangerous as resources continue to decrease, while the human population continues to increase. As a result of overpopulation, many other major problems arrived, endangering the lives of humans collectively. If overpopulation is not appropriately dealt with in the fastest manner possible, it is hard to imagine how deteriorated the Earth will be in the near future. Overpopulation detracts from the values of life and depreciates living standards. The problems associated with overpopulation certainly make it difficult for social, environmental, and economic enhancements in the future. Because of that, overpopulation is viewed as the fourth ‘worst thing’ on this list.
According to the scientists at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, overpopulation is itself the worst environment problem because it is the root of many other serious issues. Without overpopulation, other problems such as atmospheric and hydrospheric pollution and energy shortage would only be minor problems, if they would be considered problems at all. About 80 years ago, the world population only had about 2 billion people. Over the course of 8 decades, this number has multiplied by a factor of more than 2.5, reaching an unparalleled number of almost 6.5 billion people globally. Over only two or three generations, the exponential population growth has demanded tremendous alterations on social, economic, and environmental fronts. When considering the population growth of the last century, it is frightening to know that the number has added more than 4 billion in only 0.1% of the history of mankind. With that in mind, it is reasonable to speculate that the future growth will accelerate even more rapidly.
Overpopulation yields to dangerous effects on social, economic, and environmental developments. To supply the needs of land, deforestation has been occurring at a pace of 16 million hectares per year. In addition to this, not only are forest trees killed but other native animals and plants of those places are also harmed in many ways. Many animals are forced to move to other unfavorable habitats where they eventually die off and possibly become extinct. It is estimated that the rate of which this occurs is 10,000 times faster than by natural processes. The extinction of trees is also detrimental to the atmosphere because released carbon dioxide is now not being converted into respiratory oxygen nearly as quickly. In addition, the more people there are, the higher the demands for domestic consumptions and industrial work are. As industries start expand, CO2 emissions continue to rise exponentially. For instance, in China, where the population is about 1.3 billion people, CO2 emissions are increasing by 500 megatons per year. This is one of the causes of global warming. CO2 molecules trap incoming sunlight that heats up the surface of the Earth. Besides atmospheric effects, overpopulation also produces other chemical wastes every year. About 5 million people die from diseases associated with these wastes each year. Drinking water is also becoming a profound challenge for many scientists. In less developed countries, the need to water consumption is increasing. It is estimated that in about 10 years, this demand will increase by 20% because of overpopulation. The world only has 50% of the natural wetlands that it possessed before. Therefore, it is very crucial to produce enough drinking water in order to supply the continuing increase of demands.
Because of its threatening potential to deteriorate lives in many different aspects, overpopulation is an issue that needs immediate counteractions. Overpopulation decreases the values of lives. Overpopulation is the foundation for many other problems that also deteriorate society. Therefore, it is ranked as the fifth ‘worst thing.’
Unquestionably, terrorism is one of the most serious problems in the world. Without immediate counteractions, it could become even larger threats to people everywhere. Terrorist acts are defined as actions that consist of extreme violence and threats to intimidate or to coerce. Terrorist groups exist everywhere in the world seeking to wreak havoc on innocent citizens in an attempt to demand what they want. Even though terrorist groups can be found almost anywhere in the world, the world has been focusing more intensely on terrorism in the Middle East and in Europe. Radical Muslims in Europe have done major damages to the continent with terrorist plots in the form of suicide bombings. In the Middle East, terrorist acts are conducted using many methods including guerrilla warfare, suicide bombings, and other forms of attacks. Terrorism threatens the lives of many people. Innocent citizens have been killed suddenly, buildings have been destroyed, and properties have been damaged by terrorist attacks. As attempts to eliminate terrorism, wars have been declared against the terrorist groups such as the War in Afghanistan and the War in Gaza. Such wars cost additional lives from both sides of the conflict. Because of that, terrorism earns the title of the fifth ‘worst thing’ in the world due to its threatening nature to humanity everywhere.
After the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush introduced the term “war on terror” calling international efforts to counterterrorism. The 9-11 attacks killed about 3,000 people. As a result of the attacks on 9-11, the US declared war against Afghanistan in an attempt to arrest Osama bin Laden and eliminate Al Qaeda. Born in Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden founded Al Qaeda, a terrorist organization that opposes the West. The US is now involved in the War in Afghanistan in an attempt to arrest the Al Qaeda leader, bin Laden, and his supporters from the Taliban. In the process of doing so, it is inevitable to avoid civilian casualties. In 2009 alone, about 2,412 civilians were killed, and 3,566 people were wounded from the war. This is to demonstrate a dangerous effect of terrorism. Terrorist plots do not only affect civilians on the days of the plots, but they also constitute long-term conflicts.
Not only for Al Qaeda, the Middle East is also a place for bases of many other terrorist organizations. One such example is Hezbollah. Hezbollah opposes the existence of Israel and seeks to damage this country. For instance, on July 24, 2006, Hezbollah fired rockets into Israel, killing 17 civilians and wounding another 49 people. Hezbollah has done similar plots against Israel since her establishment, causing the deaths of many people. Iraq is another location of terrorist attacks in the Middle East. About 45% of all terrorist plots occurred in Iraq killing about 13,340 people in 2007.
As for Europe, most terrorist attacks are responsible by radical Muslims. These Muslims believe that Europeans discriminate and oppose their religion. It is their duty, therefore, to plot terrorist attacks against Western Europe in the name of Allah. They believe that they are fulfilling their jihad. In Spain, a ruthless plot of radical Muslims resulted in a disastrous attack on four commuter trains. The attack took place on March 11th, 2004 in Madrid at the height of rush hour. The operation was controlled by cell phones to detonate rucksacks situated on the trains. When the explosives ignited, they stole the lives of 191 civilians and injured more than 1,800 others. In Great Britain, on July 7, 2005, a series of four bombs exploded in a transportation system of London. Near the conclusion of the morning rush hour, three suicidal bombs ignited on underground trains killing 39 civilians. These two examples are enough to convey the idea of terrorist violence.
Recently, there are also many terrorist attacks in various places. On New Year 2010, a suicide bombing killed about 88 people in Lakki Marwat, Pakistan. In India, May 17th, 2010, Maoists placed a mine under a bus in Chattisgarh. This terrorist plot killed at least 35 people. On May 10th, 2010, a series of suicide bombings killed at least 100 people and wounded another 350 people in Iraq. These examples emphasize the fatality of terrorism. Thus, terrorism is ranked as the fifth ‘worst thing.’
Corruption makes this list as the sixth ‘worst thing’ in the world. Corruption is everywhere in world at every level ranging from local to federal governments, from small to large businesses, and within one country or at an international level. Corruption is believed to be one of the causes of poverty. It is also the result of poverty. When people have too little to live with, poverty distorts their moral mentality. They would start to take money away from the government, organizations, or businesses without regard to legal consequences. However, such actions lead to more poverty to other people whose benefits or contributions are lost because of the corruptions. Furthermore, corruptions are not only caused by the motivation of poverty. Many corruptions are based solely on greed. Government officials who withdraw national funds for personal possessions are doing so with greed. They neglect the sufferings that the citizens would endure without these national funds. The poor is most affected by corruption.
Because the nature of corruption is covert and hidden, it is difficult to provide exact statistics. Evidence of corruption internationally could only be drawn from personal experience of the citizens of each country. According to a poll, using a scale from 0-10 where any country that has a score lower than 5 is considered a corrupt country, 131 countries out of 180 are considered corrupt. The most corrupt countries are Somalia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Haiti. Therefore, this is a serious problem in terms of the number of countries affiliated with corruption. It is estimated that about $1 trillion dollars go to briberies each year. Corruption affects poor people in developing countries because they lose their social benefits because of bribery and corruption. Corruption is a massive problem that affects many people in developing countries. As stated, because corruptions are done secretly, it is hard to provide specific examples of direct consequences. However, one example that demonstrates the effect of corruption on citizens can be drawn from the case of a pregnant woman who was killed indirectly by corruption. During childbirth, this mother was not able to get to the hospital for delivery because the road was not completed due to corruption of the officials. As a result, both she and her child died. If this is just from one instant, then it is frightening to imagine how much of an effect $1 trillion dollars of corruption each year would have on the global community. Therefore, corruption is ranked as sixth on this list.
Nuclear proliferation is a major concern around the world today because it has the potential to cause major destructions to life and property. Ever since the introduction of nuclear technology, tension has been accumulating around the world concerning the possession of nuclear capability. Many dangerous countries are now capable of developing nuclear weapons, and they are on the verge of introducing nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, terrorism is becoming a major problem now. Therefore, another concern about nuclear weapons is the possibility that they might get into the hands of terrorist organizations. If terrorist organizations have the capability of causing major destructions in short periods of time, there is no doubt that such incidents will occur as soon as they have the possession of nuclear weapons. It is, therefore, very crucial to limit nuclear proliferation to avoid such havoc. Because of the major potential threat to lives and property, nuclear proliferation is categorized as the last ‘worst thing’ on this list. Nuclear proliferation is not ranked any closer to number one because it does not majorly damage the global community just yet. However, it could become fatal in the future if appropriate initiatives are not introduced to eliminate this threat.
There are five recognized nuclear states in the world including the US, China, Russia, France, and the UK. All of these countries have signed non-proliferation treaties in an attempt to reduce the threat of nuclear destruction. However, there are four more countries with nuclear weapons including India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel. North Korea and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are especially threatening to the world. Tension between South and North Korea still exists today. If this conflict explodes in the form of a war, it is possible that North Korea will use her nuclear weapons to cause mass destructions in South Korea. Such possession in North Korea is also threating to neighboring countries. As for Pakistan, many Taliban members still live in Pakistan. If they somehow obtain nuclear technology, the Taliban will undoubtedly cause major destructions to innocent citizens. In addition to this danger, tension in Kashmir could erupt in a war between two nuclear powers, Pakistan and India. This would be very detrimental to all neighboring countries and India and Pakistan themselves. The damage would be unimaginable if they both use their nuclear weapons.
In addition to these nine countries that have nuclear weapons, many other countries around the world are trying to enrich uranium to enhance their nuclear capability. Among them are Iran and Syria. The growing interest in possessing nuclear weapons around the world will become a major threat to humanity if not dealt with appropriately. Therefore, nuclear proliferation has earned itself a rank on this list.
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