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Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Cost of Globalisation

Carys Keeble and Dominic Offei

The key principle about the concept of globalization is that no nation is an island. Implied in this statement is that Autarchy (total self-sufficiency) is unattainable and as such, there is the need for interdependency and interactions among people around the world. This amongst other things has gone a long way to bridge the gap between people and now the world has come to be a GLOBAL VILLAGE, communication has been easier and is faster than ever before.

The ICS programme has managed to bring together a girl from a small town in the north of England and a boy from the Eastern region of Ghana, two worlds so far apart and yet two people who have so much in common. The differences between England and Ghana are vast and yet globalisation has its effects on both countries. As young people we cannot sit back and ignore the problems that both our cultures are contributing to, our generation has the power to make real differences and we all need to work together to keep our planet sustainable.

The problems we are experiencing as the world come together are now more evident than ever in Ghana as elsewhere as we have both experienced. Have you thought about why farmers are not getting the rainfall to plant their crops and even if it comes, it comes irregularly and generally not at the correct time? Ghanaian seasons have been changing and fluctuating so much that a lot of people are now experiencing severe droughts and harsh weather conditions not only in Ghana but all around the globe.

The growth rate of the world’s population has reached an alarming point that is now putting pressure on resources in all countries and this may threaten the quality of life as we know it. It took 100,000 years of human existence for the world population to finally reach 1 billion. Now, only a little more than 200 years later, there are over 7 billion people and each additional billion people have been added in shorter and shorter periods of time. In 2011 alone, the world added 135 million people, a number larger than the population of Egypt and Ghana put together. Should this trend continue, the world’s population will have exceeded 25 billion by 2050. This is a very worrying thought. The question that we have to concern ourselves with is; where will these people live and how are they going to survive? The population of London, where Carys attends university, has now surpassed 8.6 million. This city in England alone has more than a third of the whole population of Ghana. Overpopulation in London is a huge problem, with a housing crisis and landscapes constantly being destroyed to make space for the expansion of industry. When the United Kingdom is thought of as an affluent country, it is still difficult to cope with the huge population growth and as this continues to grow the struggles will only worsen.

Earth’s expanding population also presents serious environmental dangers to us no matter where we live, whether in Europe, America or Africa. Burning oil and other fossil fuels for warmth, transport and general living, annually creates more than 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other gas emissions. Most scientists believe that it is these emissions which are resulting in global warming and climate change.
The atmosphere continually warming poses a great danger to our health and survival. What is more disheartening is that the situation worsens each passing day, which obviously puts lives of humanity under serious threat. Warmer temperatures may be welcomed to some, but the overall ramifications are worrisome. Among other things, many scientists claim that global warming is melting the polar ice caps, thereby raising sea levels and threatening to flood coastal areas of the world. Some Pacific island countries could even disappear under the rising seas. In addition, many scientists believe that global warming is increasing the number and severity of damaging weather events such as heat waves, droughts, hurricanes, and other forms of destructive weather.

When the UKVs arrived in Tamale during the middle of the month of June; the main period for the rainy season in Ghana, and for the cultivation of crops, I realised the place was dry and it was not until July that the rain started to fall and even then it was sparingly. My host father was concerned about when the farmers will be able to plant their crops. This has affected the farming season and crop production in areas that depend heavily on rainfall for agriculture and shows the obvious impact that global warming and climatic change has on other people’s lives.

Do you have any idea why everybody on the planet was concerned and worried when the Ebola struck certain parts of Africa? Globalization may not directly cause diseases, but we are increasingly in need of global responses to counter health threats that ignore national borders. One example relates to the environment. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other chemicals we have spewed into the air have significantly depleted Earth’s ozone layer, which helps shield us from the sun’s deadly ultraviolet rays. Due to higher exposure to ultraviolet rays, this increases the risk of developing melanoma, a form of skin cancer and the cause of sunburns and in extreme cases deaths.
A case in history which shows how globalization and ignorance can result in the spread of diseases is shown by the Black Death which took close to half of Europe’s population around the 1300’s. Furthermore the “Spanish flu” spread around the world in months, killing more than 50 million people worldwide during 1918–1919. What is more disheartening is that diseases still travel today, but they do so in part by high-speed airliners rather than by sedate sailing ships and by foot. The spread of HIV/AIDS, has always been a serious concern and the Ebola epidemic that killed over 12,000 people within few weeks of its outbreak still remain fresh in our memories. These examples show that issues that affect one culture, one city, one country can so easily spread and that we all come from one nation and only together can we help to make our environment a safe and better place.

As young citizens of the world we have a duty to not be ignorant to these issues. The ICS programme is working towards educating different cultures, that we are all from the same planet and we all have a responsibility to work together. Carys is English and Dominic is Ghanaian, but this does not mean we are solely concerned with our individual nations. The world is bigger than our own towns and our own countries, and as world becomes increasingly globalised we too must realise our role is wider and embrace the opportunities we have to work together for a more sustainable, more commutative future.