As environmental concerns such as air and water pollution and resource depletion grow as a result of increasing economic activity and a growing human population, so has the thinking about the anthropogenic effects on the natural environment in relation to other issues such as health and well-being, poverty, and social and economic development.

Highlighting the unsustainable patterns of consumption and production has become important, because it is a recognition that global climate change, increasing fresh water scarcity, the loss of biodiversity and animal habitat, the loss of productive agricultural land, the irreversible destruction of ecosystems, and the increasing amounts of waste and toxins emitted are symptoms of humanity’s unsustainable economic activity. As such, environmental issues can only be addressed successfully over the longer term if the underlying patterns –including the behaviours and mindsets that give shape to these patterns– are addressed. The political challenge today is to implement the solutions necessary that are commensurate with the scale of the environmental problems humanity is facing, so that meeting the needs of the world’s poor can be achieved within the ecological carrying capacity of the Earth.
Related Issues and Topics:
  • Healthy ecosystems, preservation of biodiversity;
  • Water management and quality;
  • Limited resources vs unlimited development/growth;
  • Responsible resource extraction;
  • Energy efficiency and alternative energy sources;
  • Environmental and human disasters (prevention, response, individual and collective);
  • Environmental degradation and technological solutions;
  • Sustainable cities, design, urban planning;
  • Alternative transportation;
  • Standard of living vs quality of life;
  • Carrying capacity;
  • Energy consumption, carbon footprint, travel and transportation alternatives, alternative energy sources;
  • Stewardship and equitable sharing of natural resources;
  • Economic and environmental refugees;
  • Population increase, distribution, movement, migration, urbanization;
  • Politics and economics of climate change (e.g., impact of industrialization, responsibilities of developed/less developed economies, Kyoto Accord; Arctic sovereignty);
  • Gaia hypothesis, systems thinking, interconnectedness of human and natural systems, living sustainably

(Information from Manitoba Education, Grade 12: Global Issues)

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