11. 17 Our World Today
The beginning of 1970s saw the U.S. government involved in environment issues. In this context, the DDT insect killer was banned as it is known to have harmful effects on the environment as well as the people.
This decade also witnessed a major energy crises everywhere
including the U.S. This crisis is a result of the OPECís decision
to raise oil prices. [The OEPC is the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries established in 1961. The energy crisis led to
economic problems in the US, Europe and Japan.
The year 1974, saw President Richard Nixon resign over the Watergate Scandal. The World entered the 1980 with fresh conflicts. It also saw the "silicon revolution" in America. Moreover, computers developed in the 1980s have changed our lives greatly today.
The Berlin Wall comes down in 1990
The 1980s also saw the fall of the Berlin Wall. This historic event took place in 1989, when the Berliners brought the wall crumbling down. Thus, began the break up of socialist countries in Eastern Europe. Moreover, the reform programs of Glasnost and Perestroika introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the U.S.S.R , leads to a total thawing of the Cold War. The reform programs were mainly introduced to strengthen the Soviet economy which was falling apart. On the other hand, the 2 superpowers, the U.S. and the USSR met and reached an agreement, for the first time on nuclear disarmament (1987).
The 1980s was also a period of great disasters. For instance, in 1986, an accident at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor caused a massive leak of radioactive particles.
The Chernobyl disaster had gruesome aftereffects
And back home in the U.S., the íChallengerí exploded after taking off, killing all its crewmembers. This decade has also seen the spread of the dreaded disease AIDS. The end of the 1980s saw dramatic changes in the USSR National groups within went on to declare their Independence. Thus began the break up of the U.S.S.R (1989).
Today, with the breakup of the communist superpower, the U.S.S.R, the world has become a unipolar world with the U.S. as the only power with sole hegemony over the world. With the breakup of the Soviet Union into various small states, the old strategic alliances that the U.S. had in Asia with Afghanistan and other countries in the Far east were no longer relevant.
Today, the single major threat to the world, second only to the AIDS virus is the growing menace of environment degradation.
Natural Resources like water are polluted with toxic effluents from industries.
The erosion of the Ozone layer; the environmental threat due to the various nuclear reactors and nuclear waste; and the depletion of forests in South America and Asia have had a dramatic effect on the climate all over the world today.
Deforestation is on the rise.
The fast disappearing forests in Brazil and Indonesia, are causing serious problems of pollution; forest fires affect entire countries in Asia. The forest fires raging in Indonesia are causing smog in countries like Burma.
This is slowly moving into the Indian subcontinent. One of
the reasons for the growing environmental problems is the way the
economy of the world including that of U.S. is run. Where profit
motives rule over developmental issues, the environment will always
be a major cause of concern!