With the numerous challenges facing the entire world today, one cannot but be deeply concerned about “what the future holds for us”? This, and many more disturbing questions would no doubt leave one skeptical and in fear in view of today’s ever-emerging challenges. Issues to do with population explosion, security, climate changes, food security/sufficiency, morality, technological exposure, and several many others have been the bane of most societies especially in Africa today. This is not to exclude the developed societies.
Substantial proportion of these challenges bedeviled most African societies on a very alarming scale compared to developed societies across the globe. Granted, these challenges are enough to weigh down the energy, commitment and resources of the authorities concerned while working assiduously searching for workable and far-reaching effect solutions. However, a close look at these issues today and given the enormity of their negative impacts only avail societies with the enormous concerns locked-up for them in the future on a staggering scale.
One, is the fast population explosions. Human population today stands at about 7.2 billion people on earth. By some projection, it is expected to reach up to about 9.6 billion by the year 2050 according to a United Nations Report (2017). This poses serious threats, and at the same time raises concerns for the future as; limited lands/spaces for habitation; lands for grazing of animals; agricultural activities; sites for pleasures and recreations; grounds for playing football etc. This would have a far more serious negative impact on the environment and the lands/spaces we have.
Two, as population explosion limits the vastness of our lands due to occupations highlighted above as at present; availability of food or what is rightly called “food sufficiency” may not be attained. It would continue to be unattained, and as world’s population keeps exploding; attainment of food sufficiency would keep declining. This is not to talk of the huge environmental challenges which are likely to emerge as a result of increased human activities. This would also bring about changes in climate and consequently changes in the environment.
Three, as somewhat favourable and pleasing our climatic conditions today though with environmental threats such as global warming, increasing deforestation, decreasing soil fertility and environmental distortions here and there; which are largely attributable to increased human activities. As we look into the future, these concerns and coupled with our attitude and negligence to the environment and matters arising from it would have been much more than we can swallow.
Four, is the issue of security. This is one important area that requires far-reaching, sustained and undivided attention to address as we look into the future concerns. For example, massive unemployment amongst youths who constitute about 80% of our population in Nigeria, deep rooted ignorance, hate and ethnic rivalry, political thuggery, rural banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery etc. are issues mostly to do with our youths of ages 20 to 35. In a society where these prevails, the effects are enormous and disastrous. But, however, the real issues would be the concerns for the future as the entire world doubles or even triples in size, especially considering our challenges today, one would be left with no other option than to pose the following but disturbing questions: Would there even be peace?
Five, is the continued technological exposure at a very faster rate affecting not only the older generation but also the increasingly growing population of the younger generation, the youth. Expectedly, many have argued that technology or technological advancement would, in the no too distant near future, be huge; touching virtually every aspect of our national and human lives. This is absolutely true but in one important sense; which is that with the help of technology, a lot can be done, a lot can be achieved and actualized in no time without having to necessarily invest considerable time and energy in it.
In the other sense, the alarming level of moral issues (moral decline, phonography, etc.) manifesting and resulting from the utilisation of some technological gadgets leading to accessing several social media platforms in our children in terms of behaviours, perceptions, sensibilities etc., is alarming and would be grave and too much for us to bear. By these, I mean the effect in changing their decent moral upbringing and essential life values; from whom the larger society looks up to for answers to our future concerns.
To this end, what have so far been highlighted above are real concerns locked-up for every aspiring society to explore and unleash its potentials to address its future concerns, is by no means exhaustive. Much of these issues may very well depend on the peculiarities of different societies. What is critical for the entire world today should not only be limited to the present concerns but also the future concerns. There is the urgent need, more than ever before, to re-think, reflect and aggressively plan in earnest against these concerns lest they turn evil and consume us all. This is because the future concerns and what they clearly hold for today’s societies are eminent, far more serious and increasingly fast coming on us.
Mustapha Garba Jama’a, Makarfi, Kaduna.