By Lina Hernández (undergraduate Social Communication – Journalism student)
There are many problems that overwhelm citizens around the world: injustice, inequality, unemployment, discrimination and many other issues that are impossible to mention here. However, I believe there are some determinant elements that can change the future of our society. Even though we can’t change the world’s conflicts, at the end of the day we can realize that everything is just about attitude.
One of the problems we face on a daily basis is environmental pollution. Industrial development has its background in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which in many ways were the origin of the crisis that the Earth is currently facing. To be classified as a “first-world” country means having a very high level of industrialization, and so, a country’s pollution is proportional to its machinery. This also has other effects; in information revealed by the Mexican newspaper “El informador”, the United States tops the list of countries producing the most carbon dioxide (CO2), while Iceland and Switzerland are listed as the cleanest ones. This has happened due to deforestation, pollution in the seas, the hunting of animals and the other environmental problems that we have caused. What is often ignored is that a large percentage of people live in the countryside and in farms sowing what we eat, and because of these abrupt climate changes, crops are damaged and markets are directly affected.
The environment has generated many debates, and today everyone is “ecological” even though they spend thirty minutes taking a shower. However, nothing has caused as much suffering and death as intolerance. Unfortunately, the world is facing a dramatic crisis, as we see how the Middle East is a non-stop war field and Uganda is punishing and mistreating gay people. Colombia isn’t the exception to this rule, as every single day the news is full of horrible cases and tragic stories about fights, killings and corruption caused by intolerance, in spite of us being the “happiest country in the world”.
One of the biggest contemporary problems in the American continent is violence caused by drug trafficking. Since 2012 there have been over 150,000 deaths according to the defence ministers of the United States , Mexico and Canada. When it comes to solutions, the legalization of drugs is the first proposal. However, the drugs trade will exist whether it is legal or not. The solution is not to pretend to be a free country where everyone consumes a low dosage and is responsible for their bodies. The solution is to make society aware that drug trafficking and easy money is not the honest and fair way to be a millionaire.
Finally, I think poverty is one of the biggest issues, and I’m not just talking about material poverty. Ignorance is invading our lives. Being ignorant is not someone who doesn't know about geography or mathematics. It is letting others choose a politician for us and believing that being gay is a crime. Everyone can be part of the solution. If we learn to be tolerant, not to throw garbage in the streets and accept that we are equals, surely future generations will be thankful.
Sometimes, just having a positive attitude can change your day. Simple details like greeting someone with a smile and saying goodbye when you leave can help everyone feel cheerful. I think that loving what you have and being thankful for what you experience every day is enough, so stop being upset about traffic jams, and instead, be thankful because you have somewhere to go.