Gases such as carbon dioxide trap heat from the sun. This causes global temperatures to rise. This process is known as the greenhouse effect. Human activity is a major factor in the rise of the greenhouse gases. Factories and vehicles produce emissions and exhaust fumes. Many developing countries are becoming industrialized. The number of cars on our streets is growing. Cheap air travel is allowing more people to fly.
Effects of Global Warming
Global warming will have a significant impact on our planet. Rising temperature will cause melting of the polar ice caps. Sea levels will rise. We can expect more extreme weather conditions. Flooding and droughts may become more common.
Impacts of humans on the environment
The increasing world population is putting pressure on natural resources. Fossil fuels like oil and gas are running out. We are destroying wildlife habitats. We have cut down enormous areas of rainforest. This has led to the extinction of many species of animals and plants.
Solutions to environment problems
Governments could introduce laws to limit emissions from factories. They should invest in renewable energy from solar, wind or water power. They could impose “green taxes” on drivers and airlines companies. Government campaigns should promote recycling. Natural areas and wild animals should be protected. Individuals should also try to be greener. We should take fewer flights abroad for holidays. We should take public transport rather than driving. We should choose products with less packaging. We should recycle as much as possible.
The amount of waster we produce has increased. This problem is a result of our consumer culture. Products are not made to last. If something breaks, we throw it way and buy a new one. Advertisers encourage is to buy the newest fashions. Packaging is an important part of selling. Most foods are sold in non-biodegradable plastics packaging. The amount of household waste is growing. This waste ends up in landfill sites.
People do not think about the consequences of dropping rubbish. They assume that somebody is pad to clean the streets. Plastic packaging does not break down easily. Most of the litter seen on streets is fast food packaging.
Recycling and other solutions
Companies should make goods that last longer. They should not use so much packaging. Governments should be stricter, about waster produced by companies. They should put legal limits on packaging. Consumers should avoid buying over-packaged products. We should recycle and reuse useful materials. There are collection banks for glass, paper and plastic bottles. Households can use several rubbish bins to separate waste. Recycling saves energy and raw materials.
Nuclear Power: Positives
There are several benefits to build more nuclear power stations. Fossil fuel like oil and gas are running out. Nuclear power is a sustainable energy source. It can be used to produce electricity without wasting natural resources. It could be replace the use of natural resources like coal, oil or gas. Nuclear power stations are cleaner than fossil fuel power stations. They could help to reduce carbon emissions that cause global warming. The risks of accidents are being reduced.
Nuclear Power: negatives
Opponents of nuclear power worry about the safety of power stations. The building of new nuclear power stations is unpopular. Nobody wants to live near one. Nuclear waste disposal is a significant problem. There is currently no way to decontaminate radioactive material. People worry that terrorists could steal radioactive materials. It is safer to produce energy from solar, wind or water power.
Families in many countries are not as large as they used to be. We tend to live in small nuclear families rather than large extended families. Parents tend to have fewer children. Young children are no longer expected to work. Nowadays both parents often work. It costs so much to bring children up. It is more difficult to raise a large family.
Working parents (also see “gender” topic)
Children and their parents seem to be less close nowadays. Parents spend less time with their children. Women traditionally stayed at home to cook, clean and look after children. Nowadays both parents often work full time. Children may be left alone, or with nannies or babysitters. Busy parents have less contact with their children. Many families no longer eat meals together. Children spend more time with friends or surfing the Internet.
Negative effects on Children
The lack of closeness in families can have a negative effect on children. Many parents have no idea how their children spend their time. Friends, television and the Internet become the main influence on children’s behavior. Teenagers are influenced by peer pressure. Some of them join gangs. Juvenile delinquency is on the increase. Parents should be more involved with their children’s upbringing. Young people need positive role models.
In the past, divorce was unacceptable. It was considered to be embarrassing for a family. People stayed together for religious or family reasons. Divorce is more socially acceptable nowadays. It has become much more common. Divorce can be extremely stressful. Lone parents may face financial difficulties. Many single parents have to rely on benefits paid by the state. Divorce can have a negative effect on children. Children from single-parent families are more likely to get lower grades or drop out of school. The rise in divorce rates may be connected to some social problems.
Care for Old people
Caring for elderly people was traditionally the responsibility of families. Adults had to look after their elderly parents. A woman’s job was to stay at home taking care of her family. Nowadays, fewer elderly people are looked after by their relatives. Residential homes provide care for large number of elderly people. Some families are unable to look after elderly relatives. Families tend to be smaller these days, and women often have full-time jobs. Cares homes provide a professional service for senior citizens. Nurses are better trained than family members.
Care for Old people: Opinion
The best form of care for the elderly depends on the family situation. It depends on whether family members have the time resources. We all have a responsibility towards the older people in our society. Governments should invest money in facilities and training for care workers.
Gender and education
Men and women should have access to the same educational opportunities. Males and females should be accepted onto courses according to their abilities. It is wrong to discriminate against students because of their gender. Gender should be irrelevant in education Student’s achievements should depend on hard work and individual merit. In the UK, there are similar numbers of male and female students in higher education.
Gender and work
Men and women should have access to the same professional opportunities. Both man and women should be able to pursue a career. They should earn equal salaries. They should be employed according to their abilities, qualifications and experience. Traditionally women have been restricted to certain roles. They were often employed as secretaries or receptionists. Nowadays, a range of occupations is available to both sexes. Career success depends on individual merit.
Women’s and Men’s roles in the Family
Some people argue that a mother should not work. She should stay at home and bring up her children. The father should be the breadwinner of the family. Others believe that both parents should share these responsibilities. Working women can take maternity leave during and after pregnancy. Many mothers continue to work after this period. Many fathers and mothers share their parenting and domestic responsibilities. They contribute equally to childcare, cooking and cleaning. Some women many have better career prospects than their husbands. Paternity leave and “househusbands” are becoming more common. Traditional gender roles and gradually changing. Families can divide roles and responsibilities in the most convenient way.
9. Genetic Engineering
Positives of genetic engineering
Genetic engineering is the practice of manipulating the genes of an organism. It is used to produce crops that are more resistant to insects and diseases. Some genetically modified crops grow more quickly. Some drugs and vaccines are produced by genetic engineering. It may become possible to change human’s genetic characteristics. Scientists may use genetic engineering to cure diseases. Inherited illnesses would no longer exist. Genes could be changed before a baby is born. It could also be possible to clone human organs. We could all have replacement body part Humans could live longer, healthier lives.
Negatives of genetic engineering
There are ethical concerns about human genetic engineering. Parents might want to choose their children’s characteristics. This would be unnatural. It would be unacceptable in most religions. Soldiers could be cloned from the genes of the strongest people. Clones might be used like robots to do certain jobs. Clones might even be developed just for organ replacements. Society and human evolution would change completely. Currently, human genetic engineering is prohibited.
Genetically-Modified (GM) foods: Advantages
Farmers can produce crops that grow bigger and faster. Some GM crops are more resistant to disease or insects. This could be important for food production in developing countries. Faster growing cereals, fruit and vegetables will mean more profit. GM foods can be modified to look perfect. They may be more attractive to customers.
Genetically-Modified (GM) Foods: Disadvantages
There may be risks involved in the genetic engineering of foods. GM crops might change whole ecosystems. Food chains could be broken if crops are resistant to predators. Organic foods are produced without chemicals or genetic modification. Organic farming may be slower and more expensive. However, the environment is not damaged by fertilizers or pesticides.
10. Global issues
Problems in developing countries
Developing countries face a range if problems. Standards of healthcare and education are low. Life expectancy is usually lower than in developed countries. There is a lack of infrastructure, employment and good quality housing. Many people are forced to live in poverty. Food, drinking water and basic medicines are in short supply.
How to help developing countries
The best form of help for developing countries is development aid. Richer nations can help by investing in long-term projects. Governments and charities can help by building new houses and schools. Globalization may also help developing countries. Multi-national companies can creating jobs in developing countries. On the other hand, many people emigrate to find work in richer countries. They often sand money back home to their families. This money helps to improve the standard of living in developing countries.
Some people move to another countries in search of a better life. Many immigrants come from less developed countries. Richer, industrialized countries may offer opportunities for employment. Free healthcare and schooling are available in some developed countries. Other people migrate to a foreign country to improve their academic qualifications.
Positives of immigration and Multi-cultural societies
From an economic perspective, immigration can be extremely positive. Many immigrants have skills that are needed in the country they move to Immigrants who find work contribute to the economy of their new country. Many immigrants send money home to help family members. Immigration also creates cultural diversity People of many different nationalities learn to live together. This can help people to become more open-minded and tolerant.
Negatives of Immigration
Some people believe that immigrants take jobs that should go to local people. Some immigrant workers work longer hours for less money. Companies might pay lower salaries to immigrant workers. Unemployment rates could rise if there are too many immigrants.
Opinions about Immigration
Immigration can help the economy of a country. It can create multi-cultural societies. However, immigration needs to be controlled. In many countries, immigrants need visas or work permit. Governments should stop companies from exploiting immigrant workers. Foreign and local workers should have the right to equal pay and conditions.
Positives of Globalization
Business is becoming increasingly international. Multi-national companies do business across the world. Companies like MacDonald’s can be seen on high streets in most cities. Goods are produced in one country and sold in many others. A global economy means free trade between countries. This can strengthen political relationships. Globalization can also create opportunities for employment. It encourages investment in less developed countries. It could reduce poverty in the developing world.
Negatives of Globalization
Globalization is not always beneficial to everyone. Companies can move to countries where labour is cheap. This creates redundancies, or job losses. Employees cannot be confident that they have stable jobs. Companies sometimes exploit their employees in developing countries. Global trade creates more waste and pollution.
The future of Globalization
There should be global regulations for salaries and working conditions. Governments should impose laws to protect the environment.