interesting times

We live in interesting times and many of the challenges that are faced by modern society seem insurmountable. There are, however, various simple things that we can do as a society or even as individuals that will make a brighter future for all. This article will discuss the related fixes or possible solutions to the top challenges of our time. The argument presented is that if we are to make a future for us all we all need to take responsibility for the state of our world.

Social Cohesion

It is somewhat of a paradox that in an age of social connectedness online such as we have never seen before in human society, there is less sense of belonging in the community and poorer relationships within communities themselves. Social cohesion is the interconnectedness within communities and society as a whole and to a large extent, this has begun to reduce across America. People don’t like each other that much and this disunity is beginning to present as a major challenge.

The political polarization that we saw on the 6th of January 2021 resulting in the storming of the capital has been building for a while and this is a feature of politics across the globe. There is distrust, disinformation and glaring divisions have emerged across racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines. The rise of entire gated towns and communities across California and Florida is a direct example of how people have become isolated, and America as a whole is less cohesive.

The stronger social cohesion is, the easier it is for communities to deal with challenges. It is also a vital component in the development of community identity and creating a sense of responsibility for community resources and those who live in the community.

How to fix it: – There are a number of processes to follow and re-engagement tools to use. The basics of improving community cohesion will be through ethical leadership and management, social workers engaging and interacting with the community, and challenging and changing perceptions. Studying in the sector is also incredibly accessible and this online MSW program is a perfect example that you would allow social workers to deal with this pressing issue. 

The Healthcare Gap

The disparities between the health haves and the unhealthy have nots, or differences in access, quality, and provision of healthcare based on racial, ethnic, or socio-economic grounds is known as a healthcare gap. In America, the trend has been to discuss the gaps between what the state provides and what the wealthy can afford, and the conclusion being drawn is that money and access to wealth to afford private medical insurance can save your life. It is unheard of, for a developed country such as America to have such an ethical dilemma at the core of its healthcare provision. Those who can afford good care are able to access it while those who cannot, should make do with what the state is able to provide. Furthermore, this is just one of the various categories of disparate access to healthcare. Race and ethnicity are a further category of unequal access to healthcare, an example being that 13.2% of Native Americans are recorded as being in fair or poor health, compared to only 9.8 % of the entire population who feel the same. 

Health is big business, and the state has become complicit in this process. Again, this is a global issue rather than just an American one, and the global healthcare gap is simply growing and increasing. Wealthy countries are able to provide better healthcare with more universal access, while poorer nations seem hamstrung by their finances as they watch their life expectancies drop, infant mortality soar and general ill health pervades. This is being played out currently as richer nations are able to vaccinate most, if not all, of their population while the poorer nations must wait for charity or handouts to be able to implement a cogent covid vaccination program.

How to fix it: – there is a dire need for more trained healthcare across the globe. More nurses and improved access to primary healthcare. There also needs to be a global discussion as to the sharing of health resources. On a personal level, it will be about a move towards a proactive approach to personal health.

Climate change

Climate change affects billions of people across the planet and natural disasters and environmental degradation are now the new normal. It is all-encompassing and overarching involving science, economics, politics, and moral and ethical dilemmas. The facts are clear, and it is accepted that we as a society are engaged in the process of destroying our world.

Regardless of the scientific proof and practical evidence from around the world, the emissions of greenhouse gasses continue and in fact, have even increased in pace in recent times. The manner in which society is set up necessitates the production of large amounts of carbon dioxide and as such we are faced with predominantly two main ways forward that must be done in tandem.

  1. To reduce emissions to mitigate the risk levels

This will require reducing the number of fossil fuels that are burnt as well as building up the carbon sinks that can be used to capture and store the additional carbon from the atmosphere. Planting trees, cleaning oceans, and changing land use are the known solutions that will need to be done on a widescale basis across the globe.

  1. To begin to deal with the long-term damage

The fact is that we will not be able to make the necessary changes to the climate in time to prevent the next period of unsettled weather and extreme natural events. Thus, as a society we have no choice but to live with it, to adapt to the new world we have created. This requires different building regulations in areas that experience extreme weather conditions. New materials to be used in the urban and suburban design and to reconsider where we live.

How to fix it: – the possible solutions mentioned above are long-term and generally high-level fixes. On a simpler basic level: – one of the best ways to begin to address the climate change challenge is to encourage more climate activists, knowledge, and green jobs can begin to deal with the issues, it’s about making this an opportunity rather than a threat and a challenge.

Technology

Tech is included herein as a challenge because, for a great many people in the current age, there is a feeling that the technology is about to advance without them. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are indeed a great step forward for mankind as a whole and will make remarkable differences to healthcare, logistics, computer gaming, and smart living. However, there are those who feel threatened and feel that the entire workforce is at risk and under threat as the rise of the machines seems to be unstoppable.

The manner in which tech is being developed needs to be considered and an ethical and moral dimension included. Technology and its uses must be for the development and simplifying of human life and not at the exclusion of any human activities, especially access to gainful employment.

How to fix it: – As briefly mentioned above the chief fix for technology anxiety and the vast misunderstandings and miscommunication, misinformation around tech development, is to educate the masses. More time needs to be spent educating workers and young people as to the future of work and life as a whole with the growth and advancement of tech.

Human beings

The bottom line and possibly the hardest point to make is that the most damage being done to our world is by us. Human beings are responsible for most of the environment as well as social damage and yet many of us have refused to take responsibility. Our numbers, naivety, and non-caring nature have entailed irreparable damage to our world and only immediate changes to mindset and our way of life can halt the destruction. This is possibly the biggest challenge of our time, in that unless there is a total and irreversible change in universal or global mindsets then we will not manage to deal with the most pressing issues of our time.

It is somewhat of a cliché, but worth mentioning, in that, unless we work together and take responsibility then there can be no shared future.

How to fix it: – We need to take personal responsibility for our actions – choose to buy less and more ethically, use less energy in our daily lives. Businesses want to make money, they want more customers, so customers are in a prime position to make changes they want to see. Vote with your money and changes will happen.  

Conclusion: – 

These are the top challenges of our time, and it will not require a perfect solution to begin the healing process, but it will require that we all do something and the ideas for this start are those as discussed above. The first step and arguably most important one in this process will be the realization that things cannot continue as they are, something has to give, and based on the historical analysis it’s clear that this won’t be mother nature and as such must be you. Change is afoot and to be part of it you must be informed and aware, this article was your first step.

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Joe Maillet
Joe Maillet
Joe Maillet is an avid reader and a writer by heart. He is an author, freelance writer and a contributor writer, who write articles and blogs for various leading online media publications and for CEO and entrepreneurs from across the world. He keeps himself updated with the latest marketing trends and always recognized in the industry for providing solutions to B2B and B2C businesses.

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