When we solve problems we are taught to breakdown our issues into smaller components and analyze each piece separately in order to find a solution. This is a good method for problem solving, however, we must take into consideration that many problems are complex and their components intricately connected. It is essential that we put these pieces back together and analyze the problem as a whole to make sure we are not missing any critical information. In this paper I am going to explore many issues of global crises. I will argue that global crises such as environmental degradation, the diminishing of fossil fuels, food shortages, economic instability, and international terrorism are all the result of a failed global system. In the first section of this paper I will define and connect all of these global issues and discuss why each is a social problem. This will be followed by a critical reflection of the failed global system. Ahmed (2012) states that, when we look at these crises as a whole, we come away with a different perspective.
Increasing emissions of greenhouse gases has led to global warming which is associated with climate changes. Climate change is possibly the largest environmental threat that we face today, and this is because we can do very little to reverse this process (Tepperman and Curtis, 2011, p. 413). We have intensified this problem with the perception that the atmosphere is an infinite resource (Stavi and Lal, 2013). 350ppm is marked as the maximum concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases that is safe. Currently our average concentration is at 445ppm, and we have had a rise in the global average temperature by 0.7°C. When we are above this maximum concentration, a positive-feedback system occurs, and we end up with runaway global warming (Ahmed, 2012). Even if we are just looking at increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations as a cause of climate change, this has a negative effect on the land and oceans efficiency to absorb atmospheric CO2 (Friedlingstein et al., 2012).
Although it is important to study the causes of global warming and other forms of environmental degradation, it is also necessary to look at the connections this crisis has with other world issues, such as our diminishing fossil fuel resources. Human-caused global environmental changes are the result of a rapidly growing population and our high dependencies on non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels (Vitousek, 1994). We are part of a consumerist society which keeps us plugged into this dependency on cheap fossil fuels (Ahmed, 2012). Our intensive industrial and agricultural activities cause us to exploit the Earth’s resources, and we cannot continue on this path. Ahmed (2012) explains that this does not mean the end of the world, but it does mean that this is the end of a particular form of industrial civilization which is based upon the idea of unlimited growth.
Diminishing Fossil Fuels: