The World Health Organization estimates that at least 15% of the world human population in non-developed countries lacks access to potable water. Because of this, at least 1/2 of the world's poor populations are infected with one or more of the main viral or parasitic diseases associated with rank or polluted water (Briscoe, Postel and de Villiers) . Changes in global population growth, unwise agricultural policies, and rapid and unchecked overdevelopment have skewed this balance to the point where almost 1 billion people lack access to safe water, resulting in almost 4 million deaths due to water related diseases annually. Ironically, less than 1% of the total fresh water globally is available for daily and direct human consumption. This is quite dramatic when one considers that a single American who takes a 5-minute shower uses more what than an individual in much of the developing world uses in an entire day. This is a crisis that must be addressed, if it is not, over the next two decades the average supply of water per person will drop by over 30%, condemning millions of people and animals to death (Atlas of a Thirsty Planet).
The overall template of globalization as an economic and cultural reality is no longer theoretical. The theory is quite sound: if countries are tied economically they are far more likely to act in a congenial and developmental manner than if resources are kept scarce. Technology has certainly advanced this concept. We live in a world in which the Internet and cellular technology make it possible for borders to be completely transparent, and at almost any time one can actually speak with a live person in virtually any country in the world. Not only does this increase economic cooperation, it cannot help but create a sense of cultural warmth and congeniality that transcends centuries of political mistrust or rivalry. This was clearly accentuated with the end of the Cold War; characterized by both the opening of China to the West and the demise of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. Instead of the World being aligned in two major political camps -- communism and capitalism, or even East vs. West, much of the world now chooses to realign based on economic cooperation and the reality of a global culture. There are clear challenges within this; the developing world is impatient for the goods and services of the developed world, and anxious to bypass the century's long development process. The developed world, realizing that it cannot simply use the rest of the world as resource rich colonies without consequences, now sees the benefit in helping less developed areas modernize. Even fifty years ago, it is unlikely that many Europeans would have predicted the European Union and demise of so many national borders; open trade with Russia, and China as one of the West's major creditors (Steger, 2008, 41-82).
However positive the idea of globalism appears, and it certainly is far more optimistic than the paradigm of war, there are disagreements, strife, and conflict. The rapid development of much of the Third World, and Russia to an extent has clear ecological consequences. Scientists remain concerned about the carbon footprint of these rapidly developing states, as well as the unchecked amount of pollutant that are the result of uncontrolled factory development. We have, however, begun to understand that no factory, no country, nor even any continent exists in isolation; but is instead a part of a more complex global, interdependent, organism. In so many environmental ways; pollution, global warming, water and food shortages, and even a disparity of some resources (over fishing, etc.) the world has changed. The question is, are humans wise enough to proactively adapt to that change with solid, functional, and quantifiable solutions?
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