September 26, 2012
What are global issues?
- Demographic, economic, and environmental trends affecting quality of
life and survival prospects worldwide
- Examples: desertification; deforestation; global warming; hunger;
refugees; inequality; etc.
- The "world system" is comprised of various elements/components
including: population; environment; energy; resources; technology; etc.
When did these issues become global issues?
- Were these global issues, 1,000/500/200 years ago?
- Beginning in the 'Age of Exploration' (15th, 16th, 17th centuries) with
the establishment of colonial empires, different regions of the world became increasingly
connected with one another.
How and why did these become global issues?
- Increasing interconnectedness of world regions (and their politics,
cultures, and economics) meant that events in one geographic location had greater
impacts/repercussions on other geographic locations.
How should we respond to these global issues?
What are out options?
What happens if we do not act?
The Earth: Past and Present
9:00 am., 23 October 4004 BCE
o BCE = Before Common Era
What is the significance of this date?
The Earth was created
History of the earth (4.5 billion years)
History of humanity (6 million years)
Two "challenges" in these chronologies:
o 1. How to conceptualize the length of time involved?
o 2. Realizing that our oldest ancestors are a mere 6 million years old;
and that significant “human impacts” on the Earth are very recent (last
Holocene: the most recent 10,000 years
General trends during the Holocene period:
1. Increasing magnitude/complexity of the world system
2. Increasing interconnectedness of cultures, regions and economies
3. Increasing rate of change