I would argue the single largest global issue the world is facing is a lack of education. Yes, this connects directly to other global issues such as poverty and climate change. We’ve already talked about how the public education system is failing but consider the ramifications of not being able to think independently, or not obtaining an education at all.
Free, accessible, nondiscriminatory education is critical to improving the world. This should include trade school, college and university as well. A lot of the issues we have now in several countries, would not exist if we had a better-educated population.
Benefits of education
Societies that have higher rates of education also have lower rates of crime and higher rates of employment. There are other societal benefits too, such as lower rates of mental health issues, higher rates of reported happiness, and higher rates of volunteering.
If a progressive tax is in place, societal financial contributions are elevated with higher rates of education. This helps social programs such as emergency services, schools, social security, etc. Stronger economies, and lower rates of poverty.
As these are the general benefits of having a well-educated population, it stands to reason that we would be better off if everyone was educated. Developing countries understand this and that’s why they support their children’s access to learning whenever and wherever possible.
But what about other issues?
There is a direct and strong correlation between a lack of education and poverty. People who are well educated typically earn more. Consequently, they possess a higher standard of living.
When we can lift ourselves out of poverty, our mental and physical health improves. When we possess an education, we possess the ability to think independently and this allows us to receive information, reflect on it and make up our own mind about it.
For that reason, it would seem to further support the point that education is paramount. If more Westerners were aware of this reality, they would stop perpetuating this myth. Then we could solve the actual issues at play, namely distribution, colonization and capitalism.
Climate crisis is another global issue that people point to as being critical. This is indisputable. We have a large part of the population allowing climate change deniers to have a platform. Why? Due to a lack of education.
When you research and listen to experts, you come to find 97% of scientists agree climate change is being accelerated due to human involvement. It stands to reason that if more people were informed, they would hold different views on the matter. Furthermore, if people were taught critical thinking skills in school, they would be able to logically dismiss climate deniers.
The Next Step
With all changes, the best place to start is with yourself. There’s always more we could learn. Through self-education, we become better equipped to help others and advocate.
Begin with an issue you’re passionate about. Learn from people’s lived experiences and experts. Seek out anecdotal evidence alongside the empirical. Listen to marginalized voices. Spread knowledge as far and wide as possible and help further educate those around you.
Question of the Week
Should the internet be selectively censored?
Studies have proven that exposure to certain forms of online content leads to an increased likelihood to dehumanize a specific group of people or even commit violent acts against them. Two significant examples to point to are violent porn and hate crimes. What are your thoughts on online censorship for some types of content? Should censorship exist? If so, who controls it, and to what extent? Can we trust them to remain ethical with this control? If not, how do we justify the harm that comes to people as a result of a lack of censorship? Who would be most negatively impacted and why?
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