Global Concerns of the 21st Century

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The world population will soon be eight billion people, who in a variety of ways are much more interconnected than in the past.  Global concerns are not just a matter of general concern, a matter of human empathy, but also likely to affect us all.  

Environmental Concerns 

The environment is the natural world all around us, including land, water and air. Pollution has been a big global concern as modern industry and technology have greatly increased unhealthy pollution that threatens the well-being of all living things.  

Factories have filled the air with smoke and dangerous gases and many chemicals have been dumped in waterways.  Disposal of human waste is also harder with many more people.  

Global warming, the ongoing rise of average temperature of the Earth’s climate system, is partially a result of various modern technology including automobiles filling the air with gases produced by fossil fuels.  

Global warming causes various problems such as flooding, threatening the habitats of many animals and causing more dangerous hurricanes and other dangerous weather conditions.  

Pollution also causes various human diseases, including from unclean water supplies.  

Third World Problems 

During the Cold War, world countries were divided by their relationship with the United States (and its allies) and communist nations (particularly the Soviet Union), the “First” and “Second” World.  

The rest were non-allied to those countries and labeled the “Third World,” and often were new and developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia.  

These countries are also sometimes called “developing countries,” and have various growing pains that also arise in other countries as well.  

Developing countries often are generally poor (poverty) because they do not have the resources to successfully handle their population.  

This can lead to a shortage of food (famine) as well as overpopulation (too many people for the resources at hand). 

Overpopulation and lack of resources can also lead to pandemics, infectious diseases that spread over a wide area and population.  Pandemics, including COVID-19, also can arise in other situations as well.  

Photo by Hanna Zhyhar

Human Rights Violations

After World War II, the United Nations, an international organization to promote peace and handle global concerns was established.  

The war particularly involved threats to human rights, basic protections of human freedom, and a continuing effort has been made to protect them.  

Genocide, an organized attempt to destroy a group of people such as the Holocaust which was an governmental led organized attempt to destroy Jews and others is one thing human rights guards against.

Human rights include the appropriate use of force, including stopping terrorism, an unlawful use of violence to gain political ends.  

It also involves the protection of the rights of refugees, persons unable to safely or comfortably return home.  Political-related violence, as well as economic problems, can be involved.  Illegal smuggling, the illegal transportation of goods and people, is a resulting global concern.  


Human rights honor equality for all humans and guards against xenophobia (fear of people deemed “foreign”).  Modern times include a lot of movement over borders (migration), and multiculturalism, honoring all cultures, is important.  

On the other hand, isolationism, a policy of keeping a distance from others, can be dangerous and somewhat impossible.   Globalization is the interactions and uniting into an organized whole, among people, companies, and governments worldwide will occur.  

Modern transportation, communication and so forth basically compel it.

Teach and Thrive

A Bronx, NY veteran high school social studies teacher who has learned most of what she has learned through trial and error and error and error.... and wants to save others that pain.

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