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The challenges of our century

There are many issues that face the global community in the 21st century. Some, like the threat of terrorism and climate change, threaten our very existence, while others, like gay marriage and other civil rights issues, can change the way we view some of the basic relationships of modern society.

Climate change is the greatest global challenge of our time. Today, it affects our coastal communities through rising seas, extreme weather events and coastal erosion. In Canada’s Arctic, these impacts are magnified, as the area is warming at three times the rate of the rest of the country.

Climate change is already happening: temperatures are rising, drought and wildfires are starting to occur more frequently, rainfall patterns are shifting, glaciers and snow are melting and the global mean sea level is rising.

If I think about it, peace is first in my mind. But there is still another challenge. Worldwide population is expected to grow to nearly 10 billion by 2050 – but agricultural lands won’t be able to follow the same pace. The problem is clear: something has to change. The question is what.

Sustainable food for everyone! Food – besides water!

The world’s population continues to grow – but the Earth’s surface doesn’t. And already one in nine people around the world suffers from hunger. Although fertility levels worldwide are declining, life expectancy is increasing – and therefore, the global population keeps growing. The United Nations estimates that the world’s population is increasing by more than 80 million people every year.

Forecasts offer a nonstop rise: The global population is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100. So allow me to ask: How can we feed all these billions without destroying the Earth?

Although it’s a dire picture, let’s face it: the situation is not as disastrous as it might seem. Food is not lacking – it is just poorly managed. I got the idea for this post after having watched an interview with Ralph Südhoff, head of the World Food Program of the United Nations in Berlin. He said: “Today, we would be able to feed many more people than we do”. “But we waste too much of the food we produce, and we lack efficient production – particularly in Africa”.

Forgotten are many rural areas. I agree with Südhoff who says that population growth is not the key cause of hunger, but rather a lack of efficiency in managing our resources. Indeed, farmers in rural areas of some African and Asian countries still lack the necessary means to maximize crop yields, misusing vast areas of land.

Imagine, the productivity of existing arable lands could be doubled, experts believe. And  experts agree that productivity could be increased through very simple means. Allow me to quote again Ralf Südhoff: “Efficiency could be doubled or tripled in African countries by providing basic means such as training, credits and land rights”.

According to Valentin Thurn, director of the German documentary “10 Billion- Whats on your plate?”, farmers in rural areas are the most affected by hunger – and the ones most commonly left behind.  He believes, and he is “deadly” correct,  smallholders should get integrated into the modernization processes – until now, only limited to big industrialized farms.

While it won’t necessarily be easy to feed 10 billion people sustainably, it is possible, experts believe.
“We are producing at such a pace that the natural cycle cannot recover fast enough,” Klingholz said. “And this is mainly rich countries’ fault.”  Global agriculture currently produces some 4,000 calories per capita per day – the double of what each person needs. Sad to say but it’s also true: we are already producing enough for 9 to 12 billion people – but we discard a third of the harvest worldwide!

Farmers are adapting to climate change. Yes, there is climate change! The World Food Program estimates that under climate change scenarios, the risk of malnutrition for children will increase 20 percent by 2050 – meaning 24 million more children could soon suffer from it. Industrialized countries are therefore even more responsible for mitigating the effects of climate change. Südhoff believes this and so do I and many others on this globe.

But there is much more.

1. A Change in Relationships. Whether it is a love lost or falling out of touch with a friend, relationships change throughout your life. Most certainly, one of the tough challenges in life is the loss of love. Losing love causes heartache. One of the greatest tools you can use to overcome a breakup is to use forgiveness as your weapon. Forgiveness is a strength of the greatest warriors of life. Also, while you may be angry, anger is a tool that can spark you to excel.

I needed the strength to overcome the ending of a horrible relationship. Dr. Steve helped me find that strength.

2. The Opinions of Others. Even at your best, you will have haters. You will never be able to control others’ opinions, and the easy solution is to say that because I cannot control the opinions of others, I should not let them affect me. Unfortunately, we are all influenced by how others perceive us. The following have a substantial impact on our self-esteem: conclusion of whether you are good/not good enough for something; a positive/negative performance review; whether your peers recognize you as a high or low-level performer; and how your partner or family see you. Overcoming this obstacle requires a significant amount of self-confidence and adaptability. Remember, an endless number of options are available to you. Additionally, it is an unfortunate truth that if your associates are not supporting you and pushing you to improve in all areas of life, you will improve your situation if you cut them out of your life.

3. Your chronological age. Whether you are in your early years, a young adult, middle-aged, looking toward retirement, or retired, you will likely hear someone suggest what you should or should not be doing at your age.

Some people find it difficult when others perceive their age as a hindrance. In some cases, the law may prevent you from engaging, which can also be a challenge. If you are young for the industry you have chosen, you may need to go to great lengths to dazzle folks with your abilities.

Older people can improve their chances of defeating negative opinions about their age by working diligently to stay current with the latest trends and welcoming the opportunity to engage with people in younger generations. You will incorporate some of the habits and characteristics of the people with whom you most often associate. So if you hang out with younger people, you will likely develop actions and behaviors that can sell you as being younger than your chronological age.

4. The Emotion of Fear. Fear can paralyze, cause post-traumatic stress disorder, and it is a difficult obstacle to navigate. If you experience an overabundance of fear or anxiety, you may need to seek help from a mental health professional. Otherwise, Mark Tyrrell has published 5 surefire ways to overcome fear to help you overcome this challenge.

5. Failure. Even the most experienced will experience failure as they work toward achieving their goals. The most successful embrace fear, and I like to use FAIL as an acronym: F — First; A — Attempt; I — In; L — Learning.

Every time you fail, take it as an opportunity to reassess and learn where you went wrong and improve the situation to prevent it from happening again.

In life, we face tough challenges. To overcome this, you must step up. These challenges force us to step out of our comfort zone, and if you are willing, these challenges will mold you into a tougher and wiser person.


Email: [email protected] or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com .


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