Our Changing World Was it only a decade ago that a blackberry was a mere summer fruit? That green was just a colour, and reality TV was that one show sandwiched between music videos on MTV? There were, of course, huge political and social upheavals that roiled our world in the past decade. But there were also the gradual lifestyle changes that you don’t always notice happening – quite like watching a child grow older. It is hard to believe how much the world has transformed in the past decade. So what has changed?
Technology has gotten unimaginably smaller and better – just look at the differences between an iMac in 2000 and an iPhone in 2010. The world’s population has increased to seven billion and for the first time, more people live in cities than in rural areas. China’s electricity consumption has quadrupled and the costs of technology are becoming more apparent than before. AIRPORTS: Remember when you didn’t have to take your shoes off before getting on a plane? Remember when you could bring a bottled drink on board? Terrorism changed all that.
AGING: Nobody seems to look their age anymore. 50-year-old women have started wearing clothes that look more like clothes for 18-year-olds and children look more like teens CAMERAS: Remember those trips to get film developed? Nope? Even your grandmother has a digital camera, and she’s probably emailing you photos right now or uploading them to a photo-sharing site. CELLPHONES: Cell phones are now used by more than 85 per cent of the U. S. population and for some have replaced land lines entirely. On the downside, they’ve made cheating on a spouse more difficult – just ask Tiger Woods.
FACEBOOK: Can you believe this social networking site was once limited only to Harvard students? Now it’s a time-dwindling obsession for more than 300 million users globally and a whole new form of social etiquette: Who to friend on Facebook? TWITTER: The new social network introduced tweets, retweets, follows and trending topics – as long as it fit in 140 characters. GOING GREEN: From the kind of light bulbs we use to the kind of shopping bags we carry to the cars we drive, “going green” took hold this decade.
Now, it’s not strange to hear a school kid tell a parent to use a fabric grocery bag. TEXT MESSAGING: R u still rding this sty? Hope u r. This is the decade we start communicating in the shorthand of text messages. Get used to it: Email is so ’00s. TV SCREENS: Television screens became bigger and flatter, making some ordinary living rooms and dens the equivalent of big-studio screening rooms. At the same time, though, people were watching movies and videos on the tiniest screens imaginable – on their iPods other mobile devices.
WIKIPEDIA: A boon to lazy students everywhere, the open-source encyclopaedia uses the masses to police its entries and keep them (mostly) accurate. The painful truth is that our world is changing and it may very well be our fault. The temperature is rising, polar summers are getting longer and landfills continue to grow. These are all effects of our gluttonous ways of taking more of what we already have, driving around aimlessly and littering. I believe that these need to stop. People say change is not easy it takes time but mankind has been changing for thousands of years adapting to the world around us.
Some people have changed or at least made a turn for the better although not everybody is on that boat. There are simple things we can do to make a stand against the wasteful world. Instead of buying plastic water bottles just get a reusable one and refill it at home or if you can’t for some reason at least recycle the bottles. How hard is it to get a reusable water bottle and refill it? A lot of these plastic water bottles and other rubbish end up in the ocean for no one to clean up. What if those things had been recycled?
It definitely wouldn’t be there in the first place and thousands of marine creatures’ lives would have been saved. Sure buying a new eco-friendly car isn’t on your to-do list but just stop driving around aimlessly. Have you ever been sitting around outside and you see a car and knowing it is just another car but then a few minutes later you see it again and you think ‘Hey, that is the same car I just saw’ even though you know it still is just a car but then you see it several more times and it starts to get under your skin.
You would be wondering why a person would be driving around pointlessly on such a wonderful day. If you need something to do, just jog outside or hit the gym. Another thing is to stop littering. Surely you have been outside or to a park and noticed rubbish scattered around the bin or a few feet away. Is it that hard to walk over to a trash can and drop it in? If you say that you never go outside so you never litter, you probably just sit inside wasting electricity but to make electricity coal is burnt and although it doesn’t release much fumes, after a while it does add up.
So instead of sitting at home in front of the television or the computer, why not go out, under the bright blue sky and talk to your friends or if it is a windy day, fly a kite. While it is true that on a rainy day or in middle of winter you have no choice but you need not sit around watching TV with all the lights on while cooking something in the oven or the microwave. You can do something inside without using electricity. Read a book, play a board game or even tell a ghost story. You do not always have to do that, but just every once in a while, turn it off go outside or read a book or something of the like.
Cyber bullying, Amber Alerts, guns, drugs, guns and drugs in kindergarten — there are days when it just seems like the world isn’t a safe place to raise kids anymore. But is the world more dangerous place now than it used to be — or does it just seem that way? Stranger kidnapping remains relatively uncommon. A parent’s worst fear is that her child will be plucked from the playground or sidewalk by a leering stranger never to return, but that doesn’t happen often, which is one of the reasons kidnappings receive so much attention.
Stranger violence against kids is relatively rare and it has gone down recently. For younger children it’s pretty clear that the largest risk is at the hands of family members and people known to the family. According to a study conducted by the US Department of Justice in 2002, about a third of kidnapped children are taken by a stranger. The majority of children were abducted by someone they knew. Fewer children are victims of violent crime. The rate of violent crimes against children is significantly lower than it was about 20 years ago.
According to a 2011 report released by Childstats. gov, part of the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, violent crimes against kids are way down from a peak in 1993. Back then, 44 out of 1,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 were victims of violent crimes, compared to just 10 of 1,000 tweens and teens in 2009. Fewer kids are smoking, drinking and using hard drugs. Alcohol use hit historic lows in 2011, according to Monitoring the Future, an on-going study (started in 1975) at the University of Michigan which tracks youth behaviours.
Researchers say the decline is likely due to the increase in awareness programs that educate students about the dangers of drinking. Fewer teens are smoking, too: only 11. 7 per cent of 8th, 10th and 12th graders reported smoking at all on average, down from 12. 8 per cent the previous year and part of a steady decline since the mid-1990s. And the use of drugs including crack, cocaine, Vicodin and over-the-counter cough/cold medicines is down as well. Marijuana use, however, is up among teens.
All this may be decreasing but it is still happening in the world which is exactly why we must change. Change is a good thing. It means progress, revolution, advancement. However, change can also be for worse. It is what causes global warming but also global connectivity. As humans, we should keep changing for the better. You do not have to make giant changes. It just takes a small change from each and every one of us that adds up and makes one great big difference. Like Neil Armstrong once said “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind. “