23 July 2007

The Top 12 Hottest Environmental Issues

I'm a solutions guy and have started to swear off the moaning, groaning, and hand-wringing most greenies get mired in. (Did someone say Henny Penny?) Kevin Bryan of the Meridian Institute and I pushed hard to make the recent ELP/NJIT climate conference be focused on solutions. It was a great success and (almost) everyone felt hopeful coming out if it. I know I did.

But when a colleague asked me for a list of "the 12 hottest environmental, conservation and sustainability issues facing our planet today," I felt obliged to answer.

Here is my list, which was off the top of my head this afternoon, not necessarily in order of importance (other than climate change, which affects or exacerbates all of the others):

1. Climate Change (the uber issue).
2. Clean fresh water (for drinking, industry, energy, pharmaceuticals, technology).
3. Deforestation, especially in tropics.
4. Rising sea levels and warming ocean waters.
5. Collapsing fisheries and destructive fishing practices.
6. Energy (continued dependence on fossil fuels and switching to alternative resources).
7. Diminishing connection and access to nature among children ("Nature Deficit Disorder").
8. Poverty, terrorism and environmental refugees.
9. Maritime safety and pollution.
10. Biodiversity and ecosystem loss and degradation.
11. Agriculture and food security.
12. Global infectious diseases and vector-borne disease proliferation.

Surprising what remains from a little over a year ago -- and what's changed. Here's my last post on the subject, from Earth Day 2006: My 10 Thoughts for Earth Day.

Wish I could Plexo this so you could vote on each and move them up and down. But until then, I'd like to know what you think -- all of these are open for discussion.

Tell me what you think.

1 comment:

Simmons B. Buntin said...

Well Scott, you know me, so I have to add: how cities are built (and how, too, they blend with the environment around them). That's really the urban-environmental interface and, an even larger context, the idea of human sustainability. I think it's a major environmental issue regardless of geographic location, because cities are where many of the other issues--energy, fresh air and water, deforestation even--come to a head (or are the reason thereof).