Here’s a great piece by Alex Berezow on why global poverty is a much bigger problem than climate change. The opener:
It’s particularly trendy among politicians and members of the media to be worried about climate change. When President Obama recently spoke before a crowd in Berlin, he said that climate change “is the global threat of our time.”
But that’s not true. Just a cursory glance around the world reveals that, given the enormous problems facing our planet, it would be surprising if climate change cracked a list of the top 10 immediate concerns.
As I discussed in my book Science Left Behind, the single biggest threat facing humanity is poverty. That’s a mundane topic; it’s neither sexy nor trendy, but it’s nonetheless true.
About 1.3 billion people don’t have electricity. A poignant article in TIMEdescribed what that life looks like:
It’s boring, for one thing — no television, no MP3 player, no video games. And it’s lonely and disconnected as well — no computer, no Internet, no mobile phone. You can read books, of course — but at night you won’t have light, other than the flicker of firewood. And about that firewood — you or someone in your family had to gather it during the day, taking you away from more productive work or schooling, and in some parts of the world, exposing you to danger. That same firewood is used to cook dinner, throwing off smoke that can turn the air inside your home far more toxic than that breathed in an industrial city. You may lack access to vaccines and modern drugs because the nearest hospital doesn’t have regular power to keep the medicine refrigerated. You’re desperately poor — and the lack of electricity helps to ensure that you’ll stay that way.
The lack of adequate healthcare explains why, in the world’s poorest countries, six of the tenleading causes of death are infectious diseases: lower respiratory infections, diarrhea, AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and neonatal infections.