What are the major challenges we face?

See Disclaimer.

We face major challenges, both in the US and abroad. But we have individual perceptions of what those challenges are, their importance, and the appropriate remedies.

I certainly have my own opinions, which I have directly or indirectly expressed in this blog as time allows and opportunity arises.

But, as the 2020 election approaches, I am trying to reflect on challenges through the eyes of a broad spectrum of people and ideas.

To help me in the process, please consider sharing—as a comment on this blog—a list of what you consider our top three-to-five challenges as a nation or world. Please prioritize them, and add a (very brief) explanation of why they matter.

I greatly appreciate any feedback that you choose to provide. I see this (non-scientific) experiment as a learning opportunity—certainly for me, but hopefully also for others.

Assuming enough responses, my tentative plan is to select often-listed major challenges, research them as needed, and address them over time through essays designed to foster topic-specific dialogue. Ultimately, the number and content of your responses will determine what I do with the information.

— Antonio Baptista

Note: Scroll down to the bottom of the page to leave a comment. Please be respectful. In moderating comments, I will screen out those that, at my discretion, are offensive to people, institutions, or otherwise.

Updated tally:

Number of responses: 21 (as of September 8, 2019)

Challenge               Times listed    Who listed
Climate Change                        12     KH-S,SM,PD,LMD,WJ,AR,MO,KitW,EC,RLK,JBO,JS
Health Care                                8       SH,PD,LMD,CRF,EBC,KitW,JBO,JS
Environmental protection      5       LMD,CRF,EBC,JC,RLK
President/Political system       5       DK,CRF,EBC,BF,EC
Education                                   4       PD,LMD,CRF,EBC
Gun Reform 4 SH,LMD,CRF,JS
Money in politics                      3       PD,RLK,JS
Empathy/Reconciliation          3       MT,PR,KitW
Election security                       2       LMD,RLK
Tax reform                                 2       EBC,RLK
Income inequality                    2       SF,JBO
Veterans                                     1       PD
Equal rights                               1      CRF
Human Rights                           1      EBC
Philanthropy                             1      CRF
Military spending                    1      EBC
Service Corps                            1     EBC
Domestic terrorism                 1      AR
Role of science                         1      PR
Governance  process              1      KitW
Security                                     1      KitW
International cooperation    1      JC
Mental Health                         1      JC
Nuclear proliferation            1      EC
Immigration Reform             1      JS


  1. From Linda Magruder Densmore (via FB):
    Election security- including money out
    Climate change
    Health care for all
    Human rights
    Affordable education
    Protecting the environment

    Added later (also via FB): I forgot gun safety which is also so important. I have a problem with trying to prioritize because they are all sooo important. I put election security first because I really believe we have a huge problem with our elections in the US- electronic voting machines without a paper trail owned by Republicans who donate to the republicans, people not able to vote( intimidated at the polls, told their names don’t match, told to go to another polling place, hard to get to polling places that have moved out of town and have weird hours, votes thrown out and who k ow what Russia has really done and what they plan on doing).


  2. From Elise Barron Cain (via FB):

    First and number one. Getting Trump out of office. He has rolled back many hard won victories with the environment, healthcare, education and civil rights.

    The environmental changes, eliminating essential regulations are staggering. We need more not less. Big business and people will adapt.

    Healthcare and Education should be a right. These burdens America endures should be eliminated, making us healthier and more educated with the issues facing us today, AND help us implement solutions. (Bring back practical life learning skills like wood shop, industrial arts and home economics.) Not all students learn with reference books but by practical application. Turning out the best and the brightest is going to save the planet.

    Human rights issues. EVERYONE should be judges by their merits and abilities. Leaders need to exercise decorum, lead by example.

    To thoroughly ensure we have the issues above.in place, military defense budgets should be cut in half. Once we lead by example instead of might, we’ll earn back the respect and be a world leader again.

    I also believe in a flat tax. The more you make the more you pay.

    My last thought is a wish that each high school graduate should have to.give one year to a philanthropic institution. Maybe learn the words please and be thankful.


  3. The discounting of science in making decisions affecting millions of our citizens must stop. We need a scientifically literate administration – we do not have that under #45. There is no compassion for the less fortunate among us, only for the already ‘rich and famous’.


  4. From Jack Charlton (via FB):
    International cooperation would be high on my list, along with environmental protections, such as the decimation of the rain forests, and mental health recognition, with some avenues of immediate help


  5. From Beth Flake (via FB):
    Really all of the above! Plus what I see as the major challenge of getting rid of this administration and all its supporters in 2020, so that we can start doing the hard work of repairing our country and world.


  6. 1) Replace Donald Trump as he makes what I consider the two major issues exceptionally difficult to address in addition to weakening out country and the world order in general.
    2) Climate change as I agree with your stated position that our first priority is our planet and life as we know it.
    3) Nuclear proliferation as this could do very quickly what climate change will need some time to accomplish. We are one mad man away from killing off life as we know it.


  7. Money in Politics “Money changes everything”
    Climate Change “Understanding and predicting what the weather patterns might bring, or predicting how climate will change over the next century is of vital importance – both for our economy and for society”
    Environmental Protection “Protecting the natural environment by individuals, organizations and governments. Its objectives are to conserve natural resources and the existing natural environment and where possible, to repair damage and reverse trends”
    Election Security “It is not enough that elections are fair; they must also be seen to be fair”
    Tax Reform “Done right would promote economic growth, make our fiscal outlook more sustainable, reduce the complexity and burden of compliance, and increase the system’s transparency and fairness by treating individuals as the drivers and businesses as the consumers”


  8. My top issues are:
    Climate change
    Getting dark money out of politics
    Add a public option for health care
    Sensible immigration reform
    Drastic gun reform


  9. Basic issue is being out of relationship with planet and sustainable living. (Looks like #1 climate change, corporatocracy, scarcity illusion breeding greed, reproductive and other women’s rights, gun control.)


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