2012-09-18 The State of the World.docx

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Political Science
Political Science 2137
Cameron Harrington

The State of the World September 18, 2012 “The Pale Blue Dot” Everyone you love, Everyone you know, Everyone you ever heard of, Every human being who ever was -Great Minds: Carl Sagan – Pale Blue Dot -he popularized our notions of science and public sphere, astronomy -Earth is a “one pale blue dot” -Carl Sagan: astronomer, astrophysicist -because this is our planet, it is our responsibility to protect it and there’s nowhere else to go -this pale blue dot is the only home that humans have ever known -all of the differences we hold as nations, religions, tribes vanishes as we are just one pale blue dot in a bigger cosmo -the video shows a greater appreciation we should have for the Earth From RIO to RIO +20 (1992-2012) Evolution of the Internet: 1992-2012 -how far we’ve came from 20 years -1992: most of the famous dates in environmental history -Rio de Janeiro: UN convened the UN conference on sustainable development -Rio Earth Summit was the largest environmental meeting ever held by far -brought most of the head of states to one place -all leaders wanted to jump-start on environmental vulnerabilities -Rio Earth Summit: created output calledAgenda 21 -178 heads of governments agreed uponAgenda 21 -kick-start the world towards sustainable development -address human impacts in the world of the environment -they began to take notice and took action on environmental problems -10 years later, in 2002, the next large meeting held in Johannesburg, SouthAfrica -World leaders met up for conference -2012: marks another 10 year anniversary -June of this year, Rio +20 -try to generate a coherent response -huge amount of representatives -largest conference ever held in history in any subject -focus on jump-starting a green economy and linking this with poverty alleviation, sustainable development -try to generate political will and the problems that have increased since 1992 -Rio +20 -consensus: it was a failure by most civil society members, scientists, etc. -distinct lack of firm commitment by government to actively combat those problems -final documents that arise from these conferences are so watered down that they lack any type of meaning -language that is much weaker; it doesn’t resemble anything of firm numbers or firm commitment -huge disappointment: lack of commitment comes from context of worsening degradation for the past 20 years -world has changed from 1992 to 2012 -changed geopolitically (collapse of Soviet Union), economically (different regions of world rising:Asia), socially, environmentally -one of the biggest change: rise of information and communication technologies -occurring in context of increasing globalization (interconnectedness between people around the world: economically, increased trade, decreasing trade barriers; socially: internet, cell phones, internet) -globalization has huge effects on the environment -it changes our perception of the environment -knowledge growth from the past 20 years: important -water scarcity, deforestation, climate change, etc. have been increased in the past 20 years -many improvements in environmental sustainability, but our -1987 Montreal Protocol: success story -ozone depletion -world leaders agreed to cut back production of these chemicals -ozone was in rough shape -rapid growth of renewable energy resources -$2 trillion dollars invested in renewable energy -scope of problem: need collective action -everyone everywhere needs to address this problem New Environmental Issues Since 1992  New MultilateralAgreements and Conventions  Awareness of Climate Change  The Green Economy  Carbon Trading and Environmental Market Tools  Markets for Organic Products and Ecolabelling  Genetically Modified Organisms  Recycling  Commercialization of Biofuels, Solar, and Wind Energy  Chemicals Management  Nano Technology -increasing amount of environmental conventions and agreements -one of them deals with climate change -UN framework on climate change (UNFCCC) -biodiversity: different kinds of plants and animals -global agreements of banning certain substances that are harmful (Basel Convention: safe disposal of toxic chemicals) -Awareness of climate change: reason for this explosion of awareness: -vastly complex subject -interlinked processes of Earth -Green Economy -we are shifting the economy -we are aware that products we traded have taken a toll on Earth -many people try to shift economic way of thinking is saying that we can make products that are sustainable (not harmful to environment; one way to benefit us producers and consumers and the environment as well) -Markets for Organic Products and Ecolabelling -green washing -use environmental buzz words to lure consumers to purchase their items (a shirt is claimed to be organic, might be 20% organic) -GMOs: altering chemical composition of food so we can create more of it -has negative effect on our health and environment -Recycling: we can recycle more stuff now than back in 1992 -Commercialization: huge explosion of non-carbon based energy source -we can pull back from our reliance of carbon-based energy source Population and Human Development • Since 1992, the human population has grown by 1.45 billion people! • Population has grown by 1.3% • Regional differences in growth • Population growth rate is declining -increase of 1.45 billion people since 1992 -today, 7 billion people on Earth -every single year, the world population grows by 1.3% -almost 1.5 billion people every year = 26% in 20 years (massive number) -graph: shows majority of population come fromAsia -60% of total population live inAsia Pacific region -15% lives in North America and Europe combined, 15%Africa -globally, there’s a 26% increase;Asia is the same number as well -SouthwestAsia,Africa -Africa: 53% growth in 20 years -SouthwestAsia: 63% growth in 20 years -Europe: 4% growth in 20 years -actual growth rate is declining: population is growing, but it’s growing at a slower rate (kind of good news) -population growing at slower rate than 20 years ago: correlation between countries’ economic state and population growth -developed country: less growth rate than developing countries -developing countries: 2-3 times more population growth rate than developed -increased access to birth control methods, correlation to types of political freedoms for women to have more rights, economically not feasible to have more children in developed countries Urbanization • In 2011, over 3.5 billion people—more than half the world’s population—are living in urban areas. -over half of world live in urban areas -1992: video said it was at 2.4 billion -increase of urbanization -45% increase in 20 years -explosion and growth in regions in developing countries -trend that is not slowing down -more and more people from rural move to urban areas -better quality of life, increase job opportunities, more social mobility, more chances of wealth accumulation • The number of “megacities” has more than doubled since 1990 • Over half the world’s population lives in urban areas • These areas present both opportunities and risk -megacities: city-regions that have more than 10 million people -shift from 1990 to now: Tokyo still #1 -rapid growth on how the city is planned and not planned and quality of life
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