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In the 20th century, human beings learned how to destroy the Earth in two ways: 1) quickly, through a nuclear war; 2) slowly, through environmental destruction. Never was the study of the ‘future’ more important!

What is an emerging issue? Simple! An issue that is emerging! Something that is not yet an issue that everyone is concerned about but which is shortly going to be an immense headache to us all. After getting this far in this book, you will have a fairly good idea about what these are – but it is useful to focus your mind on what scientists and others feel are the most important emerging issues. We have also made a survey of those that young people and various famous people feel are important.

click picture to enlarge
Juan Manuel Torreblanca, Mexico

Governments need to open their eyes to the needs of the planet and take drastic action for change. At present, they are blinded by power struggles and distorted priorities and they are hurting the Earth and themselves.
Amy Saunders, Scotland

GEO-2000 defines three kinds of emerging issues:

Something that was not expected by anyone. The past is littered with things that have taken people off-guard when they were least expecting them! For example, no one expected the effects of acid rain on the environment at the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Problems may be well known but ignored for political, economic or social reasons. For example, experts knew that draining water from the rivers flowing into the Aral Sea to irrigate cotton crops would cause the sea to dry up but they neglected it because they wanted to make money.

These are things we already know about but which are not yet bad enough to cause serious concern. For example, chemicals sealed in containers and dumped in the sea may be fine for a while – until they begin to leak!

web site editor: webmaster@grida.no Last update: March 2000