Two challenges facing the human race.

Posted on September 3, 2014

I see two challenges facing the human race.

Water shortages

The current potable water crisis in California is a foreshadowing of the unforeseen consequences of climate change and population explosion. Simple conservation will not be enough. Our planet’s natural water cycle is struggling under the burden humans have placed upon it in their unflinching quest for water. We can survive without oil but we cannot survive without water.

Short-Term Thinking

The second is more subtle, but I believe Western society has discarded and forgotten the importance of the softer attributes of what it means to be human. Our quest for progress has pushed aside anything that does not immediately contribute to short term goals and profit. We esteem this pursuit in the media and the “have-nots” are left with two choices. They either resign their drive to succeed and “coast” through the rest of their life, or consciously object and pursue a life at the edge of traditional society through other means.

This is catching up to us as the current trend of press around “Why aren’t millennials <fill in the blank>”. I’m a millennial myself (born in 1982, so at the top end) but see this distinction clearly between my social group.

Society will be forced to repay and repair the rips to our social fabric that have been created. Humans aren’t ready to face this, but I believe I will see the pendulum swing back during my lifetime.

2 Replies to "Two challenges facing the human race."

  • TXCitizen
    October 26, 2014 (6:08 am)

    I think the water problem will be easily solved once it is economically feasible. In fact, it is already being done around the world. Desalination plants can turn seawater into potable water, so I’m not too concerned that humans will run out of water.

    As for the other issue, you believe the pendulum will swing back to what? To long term thinking? Did people ever think long term? Not sure. I mean, I guess the ancient Egyptians thought long term when they constructed the pyramids. Governments think in 4 to 6 year cycles. Corporations think in 1 to 3-5 year cycles. Long term planning does not payoff for the most part since no one can predict the future. If you knew for a fact that something were to happen in 20 years, you still probably wouldn’t do anything about it until the last year of the 20 years came upon you. I know that’s not a mature position, but people procrastinate. Part of me thinks this has to do with not knowing when our life will end. People put things off and hope they won’t have to deal with it because they’ll be long gone. Now if you knew when your life would end, you’d probably handle your life differently.

    • Mike Hostetler
      October 26, 2014 (8:26 am)

      The connection between “Humans facing death” and short-term thinking is a fascinating one! Great point!

      Regarding water, I think technology may catch up eventually, but it’s going to be rough getting there. Desalination is an incredibly expensive process to do in large quantities because of energy costs. If we can solve energy, desalinization will likely follow quickly.

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