When you work for peace or any other aspect of social change, there are often hardships to overcome. You must believe deeply that what you are doing is right, or else you may become discouraged and give up. I have found that there are no easy solutions to problems involving social change. When you commit yourself to creating a better world, you are most likely committing yourself to a lifetime of effort.
To succeed, you must be willing to persevere in your efforts and you must keep a positive, hopeful attitude. In this work, it is often unclear who you are reaching or whether change is occurring. Thus, you must trust that your work for a better world matters. Sometimes change is occurring under the surface as a result of many individual actions, and suddenly the results become clear as in the cases of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the break-up of the former Soviet Union and the end of apartheid in South Africa.
The most rewarding life is one in which there is a major element of serving others. Many people find a way to do this in their lives. Of course, there are many ways in which an individual can be of service to others. Some of the biggest problems at the global level, though, go largely unaddressed by most of us, and I think this is an area where young people can make important contributions.
We have many global problems, but we are lacking global institutions powerful enough to effectively address such problems as global terrorism, human rights abuses, global warming, the ozone layer, pollution of the oceans and rivers, arms trade, child soldiers, war, the weaponization of space, and nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Finding a way to participate in solving these and other global problems is one of the great challenges of our time.
Global problems require global solutions. They also require World Citizens who identify with and give their loyalty to humanity and the web of life. Patriotism takes on new dimensions and becomes Humatriotism, loyalty to humankind. To change the world requires a new kind of thinking and new loyalties that transcend the nation-state. These viewpoints may put one at odds with some segments of society, but if some individuals do not have the vision and the courage to venture beyond the borders of conformity then change will never occur.
The Debate Concerning Embryonic Stem Cell Research
One of the most heated political battles in the United States in recent years has been over the morality of embryonic stem cell research. The embryonic stem cell debate has polarized the country into those who argue that such research holds promises of ending a great deal of human suffering and others who condemn such research as involving the abortion of a potential human life. If any answer to the ethical debate surrounding this particular aspect of stem cell research exists, it is a hazy one at best. The question facing many scientists and policymakers involved in embryonic stem cell research is, which is more valuable – the life of a human suffering from a potentially fatal illness or injury, or the life of human at one week of development? While many argue that embryonic stem cell research holds the potential of developing cures for a number of illnesses that affect many individuals, such research is performed at the cost of destroying a life and should therefore not be pursued.
Stem cells are pluripotent cells of the body which are “undifferentiated.” This means that stem cells can ultimately give rise to any type of body tissue. Thus stem cells have the potential to cure a vast number of diseases and physical ailments including Parkinson’s, diabetes, spinal cord injury, and heart disease. Consequently, stem cell research and the development of associated medical applications are of great interest to the scientific and medical community. The area of stem cell research involving human embryonic stem cells is of particular interest in that embryonic stem cells are derived from week-old blastocysts developed from in vitro fertilized eggs. As opposed to adult stem cells, which must undergo a complicated process of de-differen…
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…ns of a morally questionable nature. It is necessary that our practices remain ethical and that we uphold the value of a human life, as this is the cornerstone of human society. Embryonic stem cell research is one such operation that forces scientists, policy makers, and the larger society to define what constitutes a human life and to find an answer to the crucial question: Is it morally acceptable to violate the rights of a human life for the for the sake of medical progress?
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Hubbard, James. “Embryonic Stem-Cell Research: Experts Debate Pros and Cons.”
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