Last year the media in Belgium had to bring warnings about the availability of water and requested people to use water scarcely. In February and March again a water alert went out, not about having to much water, like one would expect in those months by having the Spring Storms, but for having a too dry ground and groundwater levels that are too low.
In our regions we mostly do not have to worry having clear water coming out of the tab. Though we may not forget that in this 21st century there are still 844 million people in the world, 1 in 9 people, who lack access to safe water and 1 in 3 people who lack access to a toilet. All things which seem so evident for most of us.
According to a report by the World Economic Forum, the water crisis is the #4 global risk in terms of impact to society.
Six times the population of the United States lives without a household water connection. These people, in particular women and children, must spend time to get water, instead of working or going to school or caring for their families. As such the non-availibility of clean water at the doorstep is a burden that brings them in poverty and without proper schooling.
Sometimes I wonder if this the world is sleepwalking into a crisis. Lots of people use so many materials without thinking about their impact on our environment. Global risks are intensifying but the collective will to tackle them appears to be lacking.
Also concerning the daily products we need, food and water, not many seem to think seriously about what impact the products they choose may have, or who has to produce them, or work for them to get them on our plate, at what for conditions.
Today I just want to look at one aspect of our food and about a product we can use to keep ourself and our surroundings clean.
Last year in several countries the alarm-bell sounded, concerning a shortage in our industrial capitalist world. There was an idea of “taking back control”— whether domestically from political rivals or externally from multilateral or supranational organizations — which resonated across many countries and many issues.
It is really high time citizens become aware of us drifting deeper into global problems from which we will struggle to extricate ourselves. During 2018, macroeconomic risks moved into sharper focus. Financial market volatility increased and the headwinds facing the global economy intensified. The rate of global growth appears to have peaked: the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts point to a gradual slowdown over the next few years. This is mainly the result of developments in advanced economies, but projections of a slowdown in China —from 6.6% growth in 2018 to 6.2% this year and 5.8% by 2022 —are a source of concern. So too is the global debt burden, which is significantly higher than before the global financial crisis, at around 225% of GDP. In addition, a tightening of global financial conditions has placed particular strain on countries that built up dollar-denominated liabilities while interest rates were low.
Geopolitical and geo-economic tensions are rising among the world’s major powers. These tensions represent the most urgent global risks at present. The world is evolving into a period of divergence following a period of globalization that profoundly altered the global political economy. Reconfiguring the relations of deeply integrated countries is fraught with potential risks, and trade and investment relations among many of the world’s powers were difficult during 2018. Against this backdrop, it is likely to become more difficult to make collective progress on other global challenges — from protecting the environment to responding to the ethical challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Deepening fissures in the international system suggest that systemic risks may be building. We can see the tension between the globalization of the world economy and the growing nationalism of world politics being a deepening risk.
Environmental risks continue to dominate the results of the annual Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS). This year, they accounted for three of the top five risks by likelihood and four by impact.
Extreme weather was the risk of greatest concern, but the survey respondents are increasingly worried about environmental policy failure: having fallen in the rankings after Paris,
“failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation”
jumped back to number two in terms of impact this year. The results of climate inaction are becoming increasingly clear. The accelerating pace of biodiversity loss is a particular concern. Species abundance is down by 60% since 1970. In the human food chain, biodiversity loss is affecting health and socio-economic development, with implications for well-being, productivity, and even regional security.
Technology continues to play a profound role in shaping the global risks landscape. Concerns about data fraud and cyber-attacks were prominent again in the GRPS, which also highlighted a number of other technological vulnerabilities: around two-thirds of respondents expect the risks associated with fake news and identity theft to increase in 2019, while three-fifths said the same about loss of privacy to companies and governments. There were further massive data breaches in 2018, new hardware weaknesses were revealed, and research pointed to the potential uses of artificial intelligence to engineer more potent cyber-attacks. Last year also provided further evidence that cyber-attacks pose risks to critical infrastructure, prompting countries to strengthen their screening of cross-border partnerships on national security grounds. The product that I have in mind today is also viewed by hostile units as an easy product to infect and disable larger populations by disrupting the machinery of treatment plants.
The use of chemicals as a terrorist weapon should also not overlooked.
Changes in how we live have increased the risk of a devastating outbreak occurring naturally, and emerging technologies are making it increasingly easy for new biological threats to be manufactured and released either deliberately or by accident. The world is badly under-prepared for even modest biological threats, leaving us vulnerable to potentially huge impacts on individual lives, societal well-being, economic activity and national security. Revolutionary new biotechnologies promise miraculous advances, but also create daunting challenges of oversight and control — as demonstrated by claims in 2018 that the world’s first gene-modified babies had been created.
Having more people using all sorts of chemical drugs, urinating the surplus brings a lot of dangerous material in the waste-water and makes it more difficult and more expensive to clean the water to get again drinkable clean water.
Rapidly growing cities and ongoing effects of climate change are making more people vulnerable to rising sea levels. Two-thirds of the global population is expected to live in cities by 2050 and already an estimated 800 million people live in more than 570 coastal cities vulnerable to a sea-level rise of 0.5 metres by 2050. In a vicious circle, urbanization not only concentrates people and property in areas of potential damage and disruption, it also exacerbates those risks—for example by destroying natural sources of resilience such as coastal mangroves and increasing the strain on groundwater reserves. Intensifying impacts will render an increasing amount of land uninhabitable. There are three main strategies for adapting to rising sea-levels: (1) engineering projects to keep water out, (2) nature-based defences, and (3) people-based strategies, such as moving households and businesses to safer ground or investing in social capital to make flood-risk communities more resilient.
- The natural beauties of life
- How to make sustainable, green habits second nature
- Vatican meeting of mayors talking about global warming, human trafficking and modern-day slavery
- Pope Francis Raises Hopes for an Ecological Church
- Republican member of Congress from Arizona to boycott pope’s address over climate change
- What we don’t say about the refugee crisis?
- 2016 It’s a New Year!
- Building a low-carbon world: the sixth industrial revolution
- UK Politicians willing to tear up decades of environmental protections
- Senator Loren Legarda says climate change not impossible to address
- Spring Pools
- Air-conditioning treath and HFCs extremely powerful heat-trappers
- Holistic policies and practices to protect, restore and sustain healthy forests
- Let’s Jump On The Bandwagon
- Africa’s human existence and development under threat from the adverse impacts of climate change
- Climate Council: without action, rising seas will cost us billions
- R20 in Paris: Climate-KIC CEO Calls on Climate Change Leaders to Focus Their Efforts on Creating Sustainable Cities
- Oil Prices Soar on OPEC Pact, Geopolitical Tensions
- NUSA DUA, Indonesia | The Latest: IMF pledges to guard growth, financial stability
- Heavy Rains Hits Nairobi City
- Stocks fall on disappointing earnings, geopolitical tensions
- What are the most common types of cyber attacks?
- India Second Most Affected Country Due To Cyber Attacks: Report
- The Kremlin’s cyber contractors. What motives? What risks?
- Dell computers vulnerable to remote control
- New Cyber Security Study Broke Down +32 Millions Cyber Attacks Across More Than 200 Countries Worldwide
- First, Japan develops computer viruses to defend itself against cyber attacks