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Major Global Crises: We Have the Power to Solve Them- But We’re Not
It hurts to think about the future. In fact, to spare myself from depression (and existential crisis), I try not to. And I’m sure I’m not alone. We hear so many disturbing facts about the effects of global warming, ocean acidification and pollution floating around that it’s practically impossible not to think the world is headed towards a dark, grim fate.
And it’s true, the human system of non-stop talking and polluting as if the earth was just some floating ball of endless resources can’t sustain us forever. We are headed towards a dark and grim fate- that is, if we don’t do something. Because if we put a global effort into it, all the world's problems could be easily turned around. We’re just not.
Here are four major global crises (and what we could, but don’t do to turn them around.)
Crisis #1: Deforestation
If the New York Times used recycled paper for one day's worth of its Sunday edition, that would save around 75,000 trees. 75,000! Over the course of many weeks, months, and years- that could really add up. And if every newspaper, magazine, and publishing house used recycled paper for every print, just imagine how many trees we’de save! Which in turn, would preserve countless ecosystems, save thousands of species from extinction, and make our planet an overall cleaner, greener place.
Crisis # 2: Water Shortage
Thirty six countries are victim to water shortages- and thanks to pollution and other human activity, that number is only going up. Yet the US still produces bottled water.
At first glance, the two seem to have no connection. But bottled water isn’t as harmless as it seems. First of all, the production of water bottles uses 17 million barrels of oil a year. On top of that, it takes three times the water in the bottle to fill one. And one bottle costs over 10,000 times what a glass of tap water would be. It’s a truly useless product, and all of that money spent on it could be better invested in getting water to countries with shortages, or even finding efficient ways to desalinate sea water.
In fact, the only reason bottled water was invented was because people started realising soda was unhealthy, and stopped buying as much. Soda companies were losing money, so they began producing a different product to get more profit- bottled water. But how do you get consumers to spend money on something that is already free? Easy. Attack tap water.
Bottled water companies have been claiming tap water is dangerous, even though countless studies- including one done by the Food and Water Watch- have shown that half of all bottled water is really just tap water. In some cases, bottled water is even dirtier and more harmful.
But the bad news is that global consumption of bottled water is going up by 10% each year. So it’s our job as consumers to put an end to this.
Crisis #3: World Hunger
Amount of money wasted on un-eaten food in the US each year: 161.6 billion dollars
Amount of money a year spent on bottled water each year: 100 billion dollars
Amount of money it would take to feed the world's hungry each year: 30 billion dollars.
Need I say more?
Crisis #4: Waste
America is founded off of consumerism. Ads, television and society all tell us that in order to fit in and be happy, we have to buy buy buy! In fact, if everyone on earth consumed at American rates, it would take four earths to sustain us! Four planet earths!
America makes up 5 percent of the global population, but we produce 40 percent of the world's garbage. Even more astonishing, 84 percent of the waste coming from US households are recyclable.
So If every single person in America bought only what they absolutally needed and actually recycled- the outcomes could be astronomic.
That’s why it’s time for people to stop shrugging every time they hear a disturbing fact and saying, “The future’s gonna suck.” and then continuing to go about their lives.
The environmental crisis does, and 100% will affect us, but that’s no reason to lose hope. Because if even the tiniest, most miniscule changes like using recycled paper in newspaper prints can have such a huge impact, just think of the huge differences could we make if we really put the effort in!