April 16 (Forbes).– April is Earth Month, and Forum for the Future, a global nonprofit organization that advocates for systems change to promote sustainability, has recently published a report entitled Driving Systems Change in Turbulent Times. In it, the Forum advances seven trends that have major implications for how (or if) we will be able to address current global environmental challenges:
The plastics kickback. Although eight million tons of plastic enters our oceans every year and only 14 percent of plastic is actually recycled, we continue to produce and throw away vast amounts of plastic every day with no real change in sight. Some consumers, governments and businesses are waking up to the consequences of this throw-away culture, and many have taken bold steps to reduce the amount of plastic that is generated and disposed, but fundamental change will require structural shifts and changing mindsets in ways yet to be seen or even contemplated-even for those of us who are sympathetic to the cause.
Migration and the climate crisis. With large parts of the world becoming less hospitable due to climate change, it is expected that more people will seek to migrate to safety from these threats. We already have record levels of displacement brought on by drought, agricultural failure, and food and water shortages. Rising oceans will certainly displace many others from low-lying coastal areas, and more major cities are expected to run out of drinking water in the near future. These mass migrations will require changes in government priorities and policies to cope with these potential humanitarian crises.
Nationalism marches again. Nationalist governments and movements are rising around the world spawning fragmentation, intolerance and competition for resources. The causes of these movements are complex, but growing income inequality, ubiquitous social media, demographic changes and increased migration are all contributing factors. Fragmented global politics risk collaborative efforts like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement just when they are most needed.
[ Full text ]