About UNEP UNEP Offices News Centre Publications Events Awards Milestones UNEP Store
UNEP Website GEO Home Page

Challenges remain

Most people support these efforts and exhibit trust in and patience with their leaders. Tension exists, though, as most citizens mistakenly assume that the changes can be made in ways that do not fundamentally alter their lifestyles in terms of convenience, mobility and similar comforts. In addition, some people resent the higher direct and hidden costs that they are being forced to pay to effect these changes. Others are impatient with the time it takes to make the dramatic changes they see as necessary. Frustrations also arise as the evolution of social, economic and natural systems does not always progress on the same schedule as the institutional changes that are being implemented.

Potential conflicts of interest arise in achieving desired goals. One example is the effort to meet increasing demands for food from populations that are growing in both size and affluence, without impairing biological diversity or soil fertility. This dilemma stimulates calls for a new global Green Revolution, although the social and environmental drawbacks of the first are still evident. Questions are raised about the risks of biotechnology, including genetic engineering, on which any such drive will have to rely. The environmental, medical, social, economic and ethical issues surrounding these technologies raise the temperature of public debate to heights not seen since the era of the nuclear debate.