Global warming grips the headlines as environmentalists and researchers fear what effect climate change will have on the planet. While definitely a concern, global warming isn’t
10. Proliferation Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction
The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 spread the alarm that conflicts between the United States and the Soviet Union, two of the nation’s super powers, may escalate into nuclear war. The Cold War may be over, but the threat of weapons of mass destruction definitely isn’t. While back then only three countries had weapons of mass destruction, more than twenty nations today are suspected of having or developing biological, nuclear or chemical weapons and the means of deploying them. Many Middle East countries have chemical weapons. Several countries are working on developing nuclear warheads and, at least, one, North Korea, is threatening to use them. There is also the concern that these weapons can fall into the hands of terrorists.
9. Global Threat Of Pollution
It took the world quite awhile to take notice of what effects pollution was having on the environment. Today we face nutrients from farms flowing into waterways, toxic chemicals from industries seeping into streams and smog sweeping over cities. These dangers threaten our clean air and water supply. Long-term exposure to air pollution leads to lung cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and other illnesses. Contaminated water endangers our food supply and our health. Pollution doesn’t only affect the looks of our planet. It affects the Earth’s ability to sustain life and remains one of the things that are more dangerous than global warming.
8. Loss Of Biodiversity
Organisms around the Earth depend on each other. All species play a part in the cycle of life. Will there come a day when our consumption of natural resources threatens that cycle? We are already using 25 percent more natural resources than many researchers believe the Earth can sustain. Reduced biodiversity threatens our food supplies, putting them at risk of pests and disease. About a million metric tons of aquatic life like fish, crustaceans and mollusks are taken out of the wild each year. We are picking, plucking, hunting and logging our ecosystem away.
7. Threat Of Pandemics
Africa’s Ebola outbreak in 2014 proved that pandemics remain one of the things more dangerous than global warming no matter how far medicine has advanced. There hasn’t been a global influenza threat since 1968, but could a future strain of avian or swine flu spread from country to country? Seasonal influenza causes about 30,000 deaths in the United States each year. What if a strain emerged that was immune to vaccines and deadly enough to kill more people? More concerning, what threats may emerge that we can’t even predict? The HIV/AIDS epidemic shows that such threats aren’t things of the past.
6. Collapse Of Ocean Systems
Even our massive oceans can’t escape the effects of mankind’s negligence of the environment. More than a million species inhabit the oceans, which make up 90 percent of the planet’s living volume. Overfishing, pollution, and climate change all play their parts in endangering the oceans. There are already estimates that 90 percent of the world’s big fish are gone. Fisheries are among the first noticing the effects such as the loss of bluefin tuna across the seas of Northern Europe. An overproduction of carbon dioxide, absorbed by the oceans, increase the acidity of ocean water and dissolve the skeletons of creatures like shellfish and plankton. Marine biologists warn we must take measures now to preserve what ocean organisms we have left.
Development, ranching, fires, unsustainable logging and clear-cutting for agriculture all affect our forests, which cover about 31 percent of the land on Earth. We depend on these forests to produce oxygen as well as habitats for animals and our homes as well. Forests soak up carbon dioxide that otherwise could increase global warming. An estimated 46 thousand to 58 thousand square miles of forest are gone each year. About 17 percent of the forest in the Amazon has been lost in the last half a century. Organizations like the World Wildlife Fund are sounding the call for alarm.
Overpopulation factors into other threats including pollution and global warming. Are there more people than the Earth can sustain? The world currently has more than 7.4 billion people. There were about 2.56 million people in 1950. Researchers predict the Earth will reach nine billion by 2050, an equivalent of about 200,000 more people each day. Can our planet’s natural resources keep up?
3. Water Scarcity
About 663 million people – one in 10 – lack access to safe water. About a third of the world’s schools don’t have adequate sanitation and safe water. About a third of healthcare facilities in low and middle-income countries lack a safe water source. The World Economic Foundation named the water crisis as the top global risk based on impact to society in 2015. It remains one of the things that are more dangerous than global warming.
2. Energy Crisis
Demand for energy increases as the natural resources that power our increasingly industrial society decrease. It gets attention when the prices of gas go up, but the threat goes beyond that. We are overusing our supplies of oil, coal and gas. Power systems are aging and poor infrastructure remains a concern. We aren’t harnessing as much renewable energy options as we could. The energy crisis threatens everything from our transportation system to our ability to stay warm and cook food for our family. Our livelihoods depend on there being enough energy. What if it became too pricy to afford – or ran out?
1. Hunger And Poverty
About 795 million people worldwide – one in nine people – suffer from undernourishment. It’s considered the greatest health risk worldwide. The threat grows as weather changes and other issues threaten agriculture in many areas. About 780 million undernourished people live in developing countries, but other nations including the United States battle poverty and resulting hunger as well. About 46.7 million or 14. percent of Americans were in poverty in 2014. That includes 15.5 million or 21.1 percent of children under 18 and 4.6 million or 10 percent of senior citizens. The same year 17.7 million households – about 14 percent, lacked access to adequate, nutritious food. Pollution, overpopulation, global climate and more threaten our food sources and poverty worldwide threatens families’ ability to afford adequate nutrition. That makes hunger one of the things more dangerous than global warming.