What Are The World’s Biggest Problems?

In September 2015, the United Nations launched their 15 year plan to make the world a better place. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are focused on improvement and longevity, and are a focal point of The UN Week in New York City. Additionally, a number of Summits provide the opportunity for world leaders to cooperate in achieving these global goals. So, what exactly are the world’s biggest problems? Well, first and foremost, poverty is an inescapable issue for nearly all developing countries. Roughly 1 in 7 people around the world live on less than $1.25 a day, and nearly half of the global population lives on just $2.50. While about a third of the world’s poor are located in India, only 10 countries house 80% of the poorest people on earth.

Closely tied to poverty is the issue of hunger. Inadequate nutrition contributes to nearly half of all child deaths worldwide, and in regions like sub-Saharan Africa, one in four people are malnourished. As a result, nearly 800 million people do not have access to enough food to live healthy, active lives. Similarly, water and sanitation are absolute necessities. Yet nearly the same number of people without access to food, lack access to water. And a third of the world’s population risks disease by not having adequate sanitation. Another major issue for developing countries is a lack of educational opportunities. The UN predicted in 2011 that if all students had even basic reading skills, world poverty could be reduced by more than ten percent. But illiteracy is an asymmetrical problem, and affects considerably more women than men. Of roughly 780 million illiterate adults worldwide, two thirds are female. As a result, women have considerably fewer opportunities, and it hurts a country’s ability to progress economically without a fully educated workforce.

This inequality is rampant, and not exclusively relegated to gender. Economic inequality is also drawn along racial and social divides. Countries like Namibia see only a few thousand white landowners owning almost half of the country’s agricultural land for a population of more than 2 million. In fact, land distribution has become an increasingly relevant issue. With man-made climate change, deforestation, and overfishing, the rapid environmental decline might be too late to reverse. Although organizations like the UN have implemented standards, and worked to save forests, oceans, and the atmosphere, it continues to be a serious issue for the international community. The UN Summit’s 17 global goals span from micro to macro, and hope to contribute to solutions for the world’s biggest problems. Through communication, training, and financial support, it is up to influential world leaders and average citizens to seek to improve the world. Since addressing issues like poverty and hunger, most countries have made considerable progress on every set goal.

So we know that the United Nations has been effective working on these issues, but HOW effective has it been? Find out in our video. Thanks for watching TestTube! Don’t forget to like and subscribe so you don’t miss out. We’ll see you next time..

Is Free Trade Bad For The Economy?

Throughout the 2016 election, candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have had clearly divided and opposing views. But one topic on which they share their opposition is that of free trade agreements. Many people have demonized free trade agreements like NAFTA and the TPP in the last year. So, what exactly are free trade agreements and what’s so bad about them? Well, first it is important to realize that the world economy, and by extension standards of living, are dependent on international trade. In practice, countries which produce more usually do better economically, and many countries enact trade rules which favor their own production. For example, in the 1920s, European farms were able to sell agricultural goods to the US very cheaply. This undercut American farmers, and so Congress passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which raised taxes on imports. This artificially made foreign goods very expensive compared to domestic goods, now favoring the American farmer. Laws and rules like these are called “protectionist”.

Free trade agreements are, at their most basic, a series of compromises between countries. They remove protectionist restrictions and taxes, but also work to keep participating economies from falling apart without them. Most countries are members of the World Trade Organization, which regulates international trade agreements, and maintains the global economy. But one of the problems with Free Trade Agreements is that they can also hurt consumers. For example, in 2011, tobacco giant Philip Morris sued the country of Australia for implementing anti-smoking regulations. The company argued that the regulations would violate a portion of a 1993 trade agreement between Hong Kong and Australia because plain packaging would diminish their trademark. And even though the lawsuit failed to stop restrictions, it is an example of free trade agreement overreach. A much more common complaint, especially in the United States, is that free trade agreements lead to outsourcing, and a loss of American jobs. When the North American Free Trade Agreement was established between the US, Canada, and Mexico in 1994, it eliminated most taxes on imports and exports between those countries.

This made it cheaper to import food and goods from Mexico than it was to grow or make them in the United States. This led to considerably cheaper goods, and a net benefit for consumers. However, the trade agreement also led to outsourcing those same farming and manufacturing jobs to Mexico. It’s been estimated that one million jobs have been lost to NAFTA over the past two decades. In short, a free trade agreement makes it easier for foreign countries to compete with local production, making everything less expensive according to free market principles. But for those workers who actually have to compete with cheaper foreign labor or resources, they’re often forced to find new work. There are also a huge number of other considerations besides actual trade that go into free trade agreements, like environmental and copyright concerns. In the end, free trade agreements can make goods cheaper and more available.

However, this benefit can come at the expense of thousands, if not millions of jobs. The TPP is one such free trade agreement that has received major criticism. But what exactly is the big deal? Check out our video to learn more. Thanks for watching! Make sure to like and subscribe for more TestTube News every day..

Can We Save Our Cities From Drowning?

The antarctic ice sheet is DEFINITELY MELTING! Here's a crazy idea: let's NOT wait until millions of people are homeless before we do something about it. Eh? Eh? Hello folks, Laci Green here for DNews. When it comes to the rising sea level, one of the key players is our Southern buddy Antarctica. Antarctica is a something of a neglected continent because basically nobody lives there– but it is about twice the size of Australia and contains 90% of the earth's ice. The entire continent is basically a 1 mile thick slab of ice. If the whole thing were to melt, the sea level across the planet would rise 200 feet. And humanity would be TOTALLY screwed. Fortunately, we're only SLIGHTLY screwed. Multiple studies published in the journal Science predict that we're looking at closer to a TEN foot increase in sea level across the planet by the year 2200. So hey! It's not 200 hundred feet…but 10 is still a lot, even across the projected 200 year period.

By the time your great-great-grandbabies are walking the earth, around 29,000 square miles of US land will be under water — land that is currently inhabited by over 12 million people. Researchers at Climate Central say that New York City, New Orleans, Miami and DC will be the areas that are most heavily flooded. Various coastal cities in Texas, New Jersey, New England, Virginia, California will also be severely affected. In Florida, the highest risk area, ⅓ of all its housing will go under, and because of what are essentially holes in Florida's bedrock, levees and seawalls will be useless. On a global scale, thirteen of the world's largest cities and about 25% of humanity rests in coastal areas that will be affected. Some inhabited islands, like the Maldives, are projected to go underwater completely. Of course, this kind of rise also poses a great threat for severe flooding during storms like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.

Plus tsunami zones from earthquakes will extend much further back into the land. BUT! Before you freak, keep in mind that this is something that will happen SLOWLY, over time. It's not an overnight thing. The melt predicted is also not reversible, it's gonna happen, so cities will need to figure out how they will handle the physical and economic impacts — a process that begins by scientists and policymakers working together and asking the right questions to get started. The American Geophysical Union is already asking: alright guys, what's our approach here? Should we build up our seawalls? Should we start to zone future buildings and real estate further up on the land? How will this affect our economy? To prevent even more sea level rising, we should also be seriously thinking about what role humans play in preventing more ice melting. The common response to this kind of news is usually fear (OH MY GOD!) followed by apathy (I DON'T CARE!).

I'd argue that the proper response isn't fear or apathy at all — it's action. Action in the form of prevention and adaptation. Time to roll up those sleeves and get to work. What do you think? Tell me about it down below and I'll see you next time with more science updates..

How Worried Should We Be About Climate Change?

The United Nations recently held their climate summit in New York City. A few days ahead of the event, more than 300,000 people joined a peaceful march in Manhattan to call attention to the issue of climate change. Secretary Of State John Kerry recently argued that the problem of climate change should be addressed with the same immediacy as Ebola or ISIS. So, putting politics aside, how serious is this issue? Well, there’s an incredible amount of statistical evidence that illustrates the severity of climate change. But instead of getting mired down in talk about ice caps and polar bear populations, let’s just discuss what the UN Climate Summit is really about: air pollution. The UN is meeting in hopes of signing a deal that could cut down on carbon emissions worldwide.

Just to be clear, we are talking about cars and our dependence on oil, but we’re also talking about things like coal power. Climate change is a pressing issue now because there are nations, chief among them China, that are actively pumping carbon into the environment on an enormous scale. According to the Global Carbon Project, China alone accounts for 28% of the world’s total carbon emissions. And they increased their emissions last year by 4.2%, which increased global emissions worldwide, by 2.3%. In other words, year over year – the situation is getting worse, not better. The ultimate goal of this meeting is to establish a plan to reduce these emissions. And one way to do that – is switching away from coal and fossil fuels, to cleaner forms of energy; a switch that some economists and ecologists now argue could also help developing countries, like China, save money in the long run.

They also argue that it would benefit not just the environment, but also the health of the people in those nations. The argument against committing to cleaner energy is that it requires an enormous initial investment and could potentially slow down economic progress. The problem is that the very nations that need economic progress most, are also the nations that emit the most carbon. It’s a catch-22, and a large part of why an agreement still hasn’t been reached. To find out more about what’s going on in China, check out our video on the conflict between China and the Tibetan Independence movement. Or watch our other video on How Powerful China really is. Remember we upload new videos five days a week, so please subscribe..

What If China & Japan Went To War?

In June 2015, Japan’s Navy conducted a series of drills near a disputed island in the South China Sea. The drills increased longstanding tensions between China and Japan, which are the second and third largest world economies, respectively. As the battle over the South China Sea continues to intensify, we wanted to know: what would happen if China and Japan went to war? The source of their strained relation comes from their mutual, then divided history. Much of Japanese culture originated in China, and for many centuries they were close allies. However, around the 1850s, the US established a trade relationship with Japan, allowing it to modernize along Western ideals. As European forces had repeatedly beaten Chinese military forces during the Opium Wars, Japan began to view its neighbors as weaker and outmoded. In the early 20th century, the Japanese committed a number of war crimes against China for which they have taken limited responsibility. This divide between East and West began a long separation of ideals and allegiances for the two countries. A 2014 BBC poll found that 73% of Japanese people, and 90% of Chinese people have negative views of each other, meaning that they dislike each other more than any OTHER country dislikes either of them.

So, who would win in a war? Well, in purely material terms, China is ranked as the third most powerful military in the world, while Japan is ranked 9th. China has about 4.6 million active and reserve personnel, against Japan’s roughly 300,000. Additionally, as the war would most likely play out in the South China Sea, China’s Navy is about six times as strong as Japan’s. However, Japan would most likely be supported by NATO as a major non-NATO ally. And even if most of NATO refused, Japan has a direct mutual defense treaty with the United States. This would dramatically shift the balance of power to Japan’s side. Finally, Japan’s constitution ensures that their military is exclusively restricted to self-defense. However in recent years Japan has been shying away from a defense-only military policy. Japan’s military is also more technologically advanced than China’s, and would likely be able to hold off an attack. Luckily, despite recent tension, relations between the two countries have seen a general trend upwards.

In a 2010 joint report, China and Japan came to the consensus that Japanese aggression was responsible for the Sino-Japanese war, significantly easing tensions over the matter. Additionally, the two countries are among each other’s largest trade partners. Since both powerful economies rely directly on each other, the chances of ruining that with an ideological war are so slim that they’re nearly nonexistent. The flaring of tensions over island territory are more likely to lead to political maneuvering and diplomacy rather than outright war. Want to know more about the last war between Japan and China? Check out our video here. If you’re not yet a subscriber, please consider clicking the button now. You’ll get to see all our latest videos right in your feed! Thanks for watching..

How Powerful Is The G7?

In June, seven of the world’s most influential government leaders met in Germany for the 2015 G7 summit. The group discussed major geopolitical issues including terrorism and sanctions against Russia. So how powerful is the G7? First, its origins: the “Group of Seven”, started out as the “Group of Six”, back in 1975, but it’s not considered a formal institution, and has no formal charter. In the beginning, the G6 included: the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, which were some of the wealthiest countries at the time. They called their first meeting to discuss the looming global oil crisis, but its membership and discussions have fluctuated over time. Canada was added in 1976, The European Commission has been continuously present since 1981. And Russia was added in 1998, then suspended for invading Ukraine in 2014 – so membership can be lost or gained. Nothing guarantees it. What has remained consistent, is the group’s influence: G7 members collectively represent nearly half of the world’s total GDP.

This powerhouse meets for two days every year in a series of private meetings and public media briefings. Most recently, the G7 was criticized after its “Think ahead, act together” 2015 summit, for ending with mere “COMMITMENTS” to progress, rather than any tangible solutions. Although, to be fair, the G7 leaders are not required to make concrete plans. Still, they agreed to extend sanctions against Russia, phase out fossil fuels by the end of the century, and end extreme poverty and terrorism. However, critics note that the success of these commitments hinge on whether the G7 leaders can implement them on a global scale. The other major point of criticism of the G7 is its seeming reluctance to include other major countries in the talks – particularly China and Russia. This has caused many to question their overall effectiveness or relevance. Because member countries represent only 10.

5% of the world’s population, some view G7 politicians as an elite minority governing an underrepresented majority. Nations like India and Brazil have even surpassed some G7 members in GDP, yet still have not been able to join. And the opposition has become quite vocal – including Brazil’s former president who in 2008 remarked that “the G8 doesn’t have any more reason to exist”. So how powerful is the G7? Well, despite their superpower roster, their effectiveness as an organization remains unclear. Their use of vague “commitments” and the lack of representation makes it questionable whether the organization can effect any real change. But they have been able to support democracy throughout the world through financial aid and the use of sanctions. One could argue that the G7s true power lies in the super power’s potential for effecting significant global progress, should they choose to exercise it.

The UN may be a huge organization with just about every country on the planet as a member, but are they really that powerful? Check out our video here to learn all about it. OH, and we’re almost at 500,000 subscribers, so please help us out and subscribe now! Thanks for watching..

Climate Change Is Causing Fewer Male Births!

We have a pretty good idea of how climate change will affect the world, but what about the people in it? How will it affect us? Hey guys, Tara here for Dnews – and we’ve been talking a lot lately about climate change, and how it’ll affect the world around us. Like everything, though, there are unexpected consequences – and according to a new study, one of the consequences of climate change, is fewer males being born. It sounds crazy, but this has actually been happening over in Japan. Researchers from the M&K Health Institute have been examining how extreme weather events have affected sex ratios of infants in Japan. Specifically, they looked at temperature fluctuations brought on by global warming, and compared them to national data on births and fetal deaths between 1968 and 2012. Fetal deaths being any miscarriage that occurs after 12 weeks of gestation.

And what they found, is that male fetuses are considerably more vulnerable to extreme weather, which has led to a decrease in the amount of male births. In 2010, Japan experienced their hottest summer since 1898, when records began. During that summer, researchers noted an increase in the number of miscarriages, and nine months later, they noticed a decrease in the ratio of male to female babies born in the country. Meaning the majority of those miscarriages were male. But it’s not just the heat that causes this. The following year, in 2011, Japan also experienced a particularly brutal winter. And sure enough, that winter saw an increase in miscarriages, and a subsequent decrease in male births, 9 months later. Researchers say this doesn’t necessarily mean that climate change is completely to blame – but it does highlight the fact that male fetuses in particular, are extremely sensitive to external stress factors. Earthquakes, pollution, and even famine – have all been linked to increased miscarriages, and a decline in the number of male births.

What’s especially damning about this study, though, is the exact timing of events. It pretty clearly indicates that temperature is at least partially responsible – and unfortunately, no one’s been able to explain why this is such a male-specific problem. What do you guys think? Any plausible theories you wanna throw out there? If so, just leave em in the comments below – otherwise, thank you guys for watching!.

5 Islands That Are Going To Disappear

There are places in the world which are being eaten away as sea levels rise. What’s going to happen to them!? Whether you call it global warming or climate change, this shiz is going down – it’s happening. According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, for every 2 degrees (1 C) increase in global temperatures, the seas will rise seven feet (2.3 M). That’s HUGE.

Sea levels are rising because of melting ice, yes, but ALSO warming oceans – as you might remember from physics, warm things expand, and that includes water. But when you’re talking about quintillions of gallons, even a small expansion can up sea levels. Places like Kiribati – a 33 island-nation in the Pacific, are already being affected. The 100,000 people that live on Kiribati’s islands have already started to feel rising seas encroach on their way of life. Perhaps as soon as 30 years from now, their country will become uninhabitable. Because of seawater creeping into their fields, the government purchased 6,000 acres (2428 hectares) on nearby Fiji so they could provide food security and a refuge if people become homeless.

This is happening now! And they’re not the only ones, the 350 archipelago chains of Panama are being lost to sea level rise, and though they’re lucky to have the mainland of Panama to move onto, the indigenous Kuna people have lived there for thousands of years – and now, thanks to global climate screwery – their islands will be underwater in maybe 20 years. 20! Tuvalu is a famous island nation, for two, rather saddening reasons. One, they are like 10 feet (3 meters) above sea level, and they’re slowly disappearing. And two, they blame two of the largest carbon emitters for destroying their nation and threatened to sue them in the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Those two countries were the United States and Australia.

Kiribati and the Maldives joined the lawsuit, but it never came to fruition. The seas of Funafuti, the atoll Tuvalu is on, have risen about a quarter inch (5.5 mm) every year for the last decade. During World War II, US soldiers placed a gun embankment on a Tuvalu beach, and it’s now 20 feet offshore. But this isn’t just happening on tiny, far-flung Pacific islands. The city of Venice is 118 islands built up over 1,500 years. As sea levels increase 2 millimeters every year, they’re trying to build seawalls to stop the oceans, but in the next 20 years, they’ll be fighting 3.2 inches (80 mm) more ocean, with more coming every year. More to splash around, more to flood, and more to try to hold back. And holding back the sea is only part of it, a warming climate means more intense storms and higher levels mean bigger storm surges…

The Sydney Opera was built 11 feet above sea level and is only 41 years old, and scientists are worried the pier it’s built on will be increasingly vulnerable to storm surges and extreme weather. And 2012 study by the U.S. Geological Survey predicts the sea levels on the eastern seaboard of the United States will rise three to four times faster than the global average! After Superstorm Sandy, Liberty Island where New York’s Statue of Liberty stands, was 75 percent under water and Ellis Island was completely submerged. These monuments might seem like they’ll be there forever, but as seas rise and the earth warms… We don’t know… How does stuff like this make you feel? Should island nations be able to sue carbon-spewing ones? Tell us what you think in the comments below, we do actually read them, ya know.