From Earlham Cluster Department
Thoughts on Global Crises
- In your view what are the three most important challenges society in the near term (say 50 years)? Why are each of these so important? What does science have to offer for each? What does technology have to offer for each? Your entry should clearly address which are science based and which are technology based. You can describe both science and technology approaches for each of the problems you identify.
In the next 50 years, the human race will be facing challenges dealing with the health and welfare of our planet and peoples. Scientists claim that our window of opportunity to effectively counteract the effects of global warming is swiftly closing, there is a shortage of available, clean, fresh water in many parts of the world, and diseases like cancer, AIDS, and malaria continue to spread.
Science has already done a great deal of its part in dealing with issues surrounding global warming. Scientists have tracked and measure the rising amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, sought explanations for strange phenomena such as changing weather patterns and decreasing wildlife populations, and discovered the impact of human activities on the earth and its systems. We know we must cut back on the consumption of fossil fuels and emissions of carbon dioxide, and now we must turn to technology to provide efficient and effective means of doing so. Wind, solar, and nuclear energy might all be part of the solution, but still pose problems such as waste management, expense of production versus profit, and energy distribution.
While science has provided us with a number of ways to clean water and make it potable, the problem seems to be finding ways to do it cheaply and efficiently, in order to make the technology available to people in the parts of the world that most suffer from water deprivation. Water cleaning and distribution systems must be affordable to and usable by people whose material and knowledge resources may be limited.
Finally, the spread of disease is a problem that we continue to deal with, and will in the future. While science has taught us a great deal already about the causes of cancer and the nature of the spread of AIDS and malaria, it is technology that we must now employ to develop cures and preventative measures. While we do not know how to "cure" viruses, we do know how to create vaccines to prevent them. Technology has provided us with malaria vaccinations, why can't it provide us with an AIDS vaccine? The issue here is not that we do not have the technology, but that the people with the resources to do so have their attention drawn elsewhere, usually to more economically beneficial endeavors.