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Changing times have caused the rise of numerous social issues which have a global impact. If a person asks their parents how the world was when they were younger, the answer will be completely different from how the world is like today. Now, the difference is evident in-between just one generation gap, imagine how far the world has come from when the first life form graced it. Technology and the advancement associated with it might have made human life easier, but it has also taken a toll on the world and all the other living creatures living on it. Human beings have proven to be catastrophic from the beginning of time. Initially, Mother Nature found its way to heal the world, but things are beyond repair looking at the damage that our race has caused (Brisman, McClanahan, South, & Walters, 2018). There are people out there who have realized the importance of balance and are trying to make a difference in the condition of the world but it takes more than a few individuals to bring a difference. One of the major social issues that are being faced by the world today is water pollution, hunger and malnutrition, climate change, violence, pollution, population and so many more. This paper will shed light on three serious social issues with a global focus with the help of media articles.
There are many social issues that have been rising on the double as we have stepped into the 21st century. However, the three issues that were chosen to base this paper on are; "water pollution, global warming and hunger and malnutrition." One of the main reasons to choose these problems was the media attention that these problems have been getting lately (Winkler, 2017). To support the seriousness associated with the mentioned issue, a media article will be used. Below are the three social issues discussed in light of an article.
Australian Waters Polluted by Harmful Tiny Plastics by Julia Reisser and Charitha Pattiaratchi
Judging by the main title of the article it might seem that is only focused on Australia, but it reflects on one of the most significant social problems which have quite the global impact. Plastic has always been deemed as poison, but now it is adding into the water pollution majorly as well. The authors of this article are Julia Reisser and Charitha Pattiaratchi. The article was not easy to find as the issue I was mainly concentrating on is very broad. However, with thorough research over the internet, this article was selected because of the intricacy of the detail that it provided. The main reason of this article is to show the society how far reaching the impact of water pollution is and the target audience being worldwide. The article was released in partnership with The University of Australia and was published by "The Conversation." It was interesting how the plastic produced in one country alone can have such a global impact. Both the authors after thorough research made the statement that every square meter of the Australian sea’s surface has been polluted by an approximate 4000 small pieces of plastic. These pieces might seem and look small, but they are disturbing the ecosystem significantly (Reisser & Pattiaratchi, 2013). Majority of the marine life is negatively getting impacted by these toxic pieces of plastic. Hence, the issue that is being faced by the Australian sea is not just restricted to Australia alone but is impacting the ecosystem and marine life as a whole.
The authors of the article state that it is unfortunate that a huge chunk of the plastic waste that us humans make somehow end up in the seas and oceans. If plastic is not disposed of properly it can travel via rain, wind, storms, tides, flooding and sewage into the seas and oceans. It is not necessary that the plastic starts off small, the journey that it makes from manmade areas to the oceans and seas breaks it down to smaller pieces which are up to 5mm. Now, these plastic particles can be inhaled by the smallest marine organism like planktons to the whales. Let us not forget the fact that the food web of marine life is also impacted by it as the bigger the marine life gets the smaller the organism they pray on. All in all, this toxic plastic impacts all marine life as the food chain helps transfer it from the smaller fish to the big one (Brisman, McClanahan, South, & Walters, 2018). It is a known fact that at least one ingredient used in making plastic is said to be harmful and cause health-related issues. Additionally, the plastic pollution in the water paired with oil leaks is one of the most toxic contaminations possible. Now, how does marine life getting impacted by plastic has an effect on human beings? Again, the food web. Man hunts marine life and uses it for food-related purposes. Now, what does that mean? That the plastic toxins that are present in the fish are reintroduced to the humans in the form of food. As unfortunate as it is, the saying "what goes around, comes around" fits very well in this situation. Due to the improper dispose of plastic the whole ecosystem suffers badly. In fact, the tuna that was captured from the Tasmania for the sake of human consumption was said to have small plastic particles. Now, what is the root cause of the plastic that ends up in the Australian waters? Mainly, the trash that is left on the beaches by the people (Ruzol, Banzon-Cabanilla, Ancog, & Peralta, 2017).. The researchers of this article state that the plastic that was found in the water was not just hard plastic, but soft plastic like wrappers were also seen when they were trying to get the sample of the pollutants found in the Australian waters. The area of the water which was near bigger cities like Sydney was found to be more densely polluted as opposed to other areas. So, it is a fact that the plastic that reaches the water has many sources like international and domestic populated areas accompanied by maritime operations.
There are many solutions that the social workers have come up with and there are still possible solutions that they are working on. One of the main things that a lot of individuals pinpoint is the fact that the plastic that is made by the help of gas and oil is said to be cheaper, this is deviating people from using natural easily decomposable materials. The first thing to do here is to focus on the use of easily disposable materials. However, the cheaper way of creating plastic has contained people from reusing it. This fact is just aiding to the growing plastic contaminating the waters across the globe. People should be made aware and charged a significant amount of money on the purchase of plastic, so they feel more accountable disposing of their next water bottle and shopping bag. The main things that need to be done pretty simple but not simple at the same time. There needs to be a decrease in an altogether production of plastic so people can stop purchasing a chunk of the toxic material on a daily (Ruzol, Banzon-Cabanilla, Ancog, & Peralta, 2017). Another important step that needs to be taken is the disposal of the material on both a national and international level. Further, one of the best ways to make a difference is to involve the law. While all of these things are somewhat being made possible by the social workers, but not on a level that they can make a greater impact. For change to occur on a bigger level, more awareness needs to be created and the actions to take down the water pollution need to be reintroduced in a more robust manner so, people start taking them more seriously.
Hunger and Malnutrition in the 21st Century by Patrick Webb and Colleagues
Another major social issue that is faced by the world today is hunger and malnutrition. It is unfortunate, that even after all the advancement made by science there are still people who do not get the needed nutrition to get by. This article is mainly written by Patrick Webb with the help of his colleagues. This article was chosen after a good amount of research as it explained the current social issue of hunger and malnutrition very well. The purpose of this article is to tell the people the causes and solutions of hunger and malnutrition. They main target audience is the general public. Again, like the previous article the research behind finding this article was more internet based. The article was published via “thebmj.” The author of this article and his colleagues talked about how as the world has progressed further, famine and malnutrition have returned like the old days (Webb, Stordalen, Singh, Wijesinha-Bettoni, Shetty & Lartey, 2018). The author of this article shed light on the fact that both national and international evidence has made it evident that adequate food supply is still an essential factor to eradicate hunger. Having said that, generating more food in the form of tubers and grains is just not going to cut out for it. In order to get good nutrition and end the problem of hunger for good, it is important that every individual has a proper diet.
A recent report that was made by the World Committee on the Security of food argued on the fact that malnutrition in every form is a problem. Either being underweight or overweight, malnutrition is malnutrition regardless of the form. It is essential that every single issue associated with malnutrition is reflected on with the same seriousness. These issues are not just restricted to the underdeveloped or the developing countries alone, even the developed countries fall victim to the problem. There are certain determinants that need to be understood in order to have a better sense and awareness of malnutrition. Malnutrition can range from unbearable hunger to being overweight to the point that an individual cannot even function in daily life properly (Kent, 2015). Additionally, it is a known and researched fact that malnutrition is found in all the countries across the globe and are not under the influence of the economic position of any country. Wherever the individuals suffer from lack of good quality diets, there is going to be a hunger and malnutrition problem. This social issue is given a lot of importance as the impact is indeed global and if there is no health stability, there is uncertainty when it comes to the lifespan of individuals.
It is a fact that the solution of hung and malnutrition is not the abundant reproduction of grain, the main way that the issue can be eradicated is that quality diet is provided to the individuals. Back in 2016, a new record was made when around 2.5 billion metric tons of grain were produced 20 years prior (Kent, 2015). However, creating a substantial grain supply had no substantial contribution to the reduction of hunger and malnutrition. Having said that, when the countries who saw a significant decrease in regards to the concerned social issue are taken into consideration, they portrayed a few characteristics. For starters, these countries were more politically stable and balanced. Further, they were making investments in providing the public with clean drinking water, healthcare and good education. Lastly, they believed the fact that the responsibility that was associated with responding to shocks regarding environmental, economic and conflict should be catered to in a timelier manner. This fact helps lessen the human suffering making it easier to take down a social issue like hunger and malnutrition.
A successful way to deal with nutrition-related issues is to look at the bigger picture and cater things through a wider lens. Further, there are many social workers that are focusing on creating awareness regarding how to tackle malnutrition issues. There are certain programs and policies that can be followed to make a difference as well. When it comes to food and agriculture one of the best factors is the intervention of national prices support. This will help in making the product accessible to the bigger chunk of the society (Mikalauskiene, Narutaviciute-Cikanauske, Sarkiunaite, Streimikiene, & Zlateva, 2018). Subsequently, women are being encouraged to grow fresh vegetables in their own home as well. Women are also given more awareness in regards to breastfeeding, both the healthy as well as the malnutrition mothers as to how can they work around it. In short, the quality of the service being provided in conjunction with the areas it is covering in conjunction with nailing down the demographic which is nutritionally vulnerable are the main keys that can be used in nailing down the hunger and malnutrition problem (Wilkinson, 2015).
A Degree of Concern: Why Global Temperatures Matter by Alan Buis
This article written by Alan Buis gives the perfect description of how the world is suffering from the effects of global warming. The article was published by “NASA’s Global Climate Change Website.” This article was also found based on internet research and helped illustrate the global issue in an intricate manner. the main target audience is basically every individual out there, this article is whole to raise awareness (Website, 2019). As the world is warming up the daily living has started to become tougher and tougher by the day. The author explains a big issue by a small yet very effective example which makes it clear that what the issue of global warming is doing to the world. The sea turtles come to the beaches to lay their eggs in the sands, however, there is a specific temperature of heat required in order for the eggs to produce a male or a female. Research has proven that the increase in temperature has caused the temperature of the sand rise which is impacting the gender ratio of the sea turtles, driving the species towards extinction. This is just a small example of what global warming is doing, the way this major social issue is impacting the world as a whole is rather scary. It is a fact that all the natural and human systems are in one way or the other impacted by climate warming. A few degrees might not seem drastic, but when it is looked at as a whole the impact is quite severe.
The places that use to be cool once have started to get heat waves. Areas like Pakistan and India saw a drastic and continues change to 2 degree Celsius since 2015. Europe, America and Africa will be facing the warmest temperatures yet. By putting a limit on global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, around half the people around the world will be facing water stress which will be global warming induced. Other areas that will be affected by global warming are inclusive of Alaska, Greenland, Canada, Iceland, Southeast Asia, Northern Asia, Northern Europe and Eastern Canada. Global warming will also lead to heavy rainfall in some places. The impact of global warming is quite far-reaching, as the ecosystem and certain species of insects like butterflies will also suffer due to it (Harvey, 2016). Further, the rainforest biomass will decrease to a substantial degree and there will be a lot more wildfires. Subsequently, the melting of ice due to global warming will also lead to 6 feet rise in sea water level. The marine life will also suffer as the ocean oxygen level will see great decrease due to global warming. There are also going to be many countries which will suffer from food shortages and go through economic issues.
Social workers play a substantial role when it comes to battling global change. There are many discussions on the greenhouse effect and there is ongoing research. The good news is that there is still hope as we possess the technology and solutions that can be used to cater to this global issue (Harvey, 2016). For starters, an initiative can be taken by reducing individual carbon emissions. However, to make a greater impact the elected leaders need to be brought into the picture. There needs to be an expansion in renewable energy and the energy systems should be made cleaner. The oil usage and vehicle fuel need to be regulated. There needs to be a limit on carbon emission. There is also a need for cleaner energy economy and last but the most important step; stop deforestation and grow as much green as possible.
There is no doubt in the fact that the world is facing some serious global issues and there needs to be more awareness as to how these issues are dealt with. All the three articles have reflected well on the issues, however, there was one issue that I saw in all of them. They all lacked a substantial plan to combat the issues (Mikalauskiene, Narutaviciute-Cikanauske, Sarkiunaite, Streimikiene, & Zlateva, 2018). While the problem was discussed thoroughly, and some solutions were given as well, but they were not very detailed. There still needs to be ongoing research on how to cater to global issues.
Brisman, A., McClanahan, B., South, N., & Walters, R. (2018). Too Dirty: Water and Pollution. In Water, Crime and Security in the Twenty-First Century (pp. 13-52). Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Harvey, L. D. (2016). Global warming. Routledge.
Kent, G. (2015). Ending hunger worldwide. Routledge.
Mikalauskiene, A., Narutaviciute-Cikanauske, R., Sarkiunaite, I., Streimikiene, D., & Zlateva, R. (2018). Social aspect of sustainable development: Issues of poverty and food shortage. Montenegrin Journal of Economics, 14(2), 59-78.
Reisser, J. W., & Pattiaratchi, C. (2013). Australian waters polluted by harmful tiny plastics.
Ruzol, C., Banzon-Cabanilla, D., Ancog, R., & Peralta, E. (2017). Understanding water pollution management: Evidence and insights from incorporating cultural theory in social network analysis. Global Environmental Change, 45, 183-193.
Webb, P., Stordalen, G. A., Singh, S., Wijesinha-Bettoni, R., Shetty, P., & Lartey, A. (2018). Hunger and malnutrition in the 21st century. bmj, 361, k2238.
Website, A. (2019). A Degree of Concern: Why Global Temperatures Matter – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. Retrieved 25 June 2019, from https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2878/a-degree-of-concern-why-global-temperatures-matter/
Wilkinson, J. (2015). Food security and the global agrifood system: Ethical issues in historical and sociological perspective. Global food security, 7, 9-14.
Winkler, I. T. (2017). The human right to water. In Routledge Handbook of Water Law and Policy (pp. 127-137). Routledge.
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