Linda & Richard Eyre: What is the world’s biggest problem?

This is a complex time with complex challenges that threaten the world as we know it. What is the biggest danger right now? Which problem poses the largest and most immediate threat to humanity? Of all the serious concerns that are talked about, which one is going to impact our lives the most? Which of the things we worry about will end up hitting us hardest and making the most dramatic differences in how we live and in the kind of world our children inherit?

As we’ve raised a family and researched and documented, our nominees are:

1. The growing gap between rich and poor. There is more and more separation between haves and have-nots (see Newsweek’s “The Real Reason for the Growing Gap Between Rich and Poor,” publish Sept. 28, 2015), which deepens political divisions and polarizes our society, sowing the seeds of violence and revolution.

2. Climate change. Our world is slowly turning into an oven (see “Time-Lapse NASA Video Of Us Turning Earth Into An Oven” published on vocativ.com in January 2015). Polar ice caps melting, oceans rising, ever more climate disturbances and natural disasters, all at a seemingly faster and faster pace (see “Sea Ice Extent Sinks to Record Lows at Both Poles” on nasa.gov on March 22, 2017, and “Sea Level Rise” on nationalgeographic.com).

3. The religious culture clash. Terrorism and jihad continue to spread and Armageddon prophecies suddenly seem more real (see “Terror attacks in developed world surge 650 percent in one year” on cnn.com published Nov. 16, 2016).

4. The decline of religion and faith. On religious affiliation polls (such as “Religious ‘nones’ are not only growing, they’re becoming more secular” published by the Pew Research Center at pewresearch.org on Nov. 11, 2015), by far the fastest growing answer is “none” and the concern is, how will society do without the morality-framing influences of faith-based institutions?

5. The rapid and radical changes in families. Marriage rates plunge while casual cohabitation, chosen singleness and the number of children born out of wedlock soar; women have fewer children and have them much later and the number of young people shrinks while the number of older people swells (see Pew Research Center’s “The Decline of Marriage And Rise of New Families” published in November 2010; “One’s a Crowd” by Eric Klinenberg, published on nytimes.com on Feb. 4, 2012; National…

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