While doing some internet research for my last blog post I was delighted to come across the following web page:
What I discovered was an informative article with a couple nice charts that exactly discussed the question on my mind. (I had been wondering how U.S. military spending compared with military spending around the world.) I was so pleased with this find that I decided to poke around the website a bit more. Soon I began to wonder which organization produced it because the content appeared to be of high quality. I would not have been surprised to learn that the UN or a major NGO was behind the website. The site has a to-the-point, no-frills, serious-yet-calm tone. In addition, it appears to be motivated by noble sentiments. And there are hundreds of articles on the site, all of them on issues of legitimate concern to the people of Earth.
So imagine my surprise when I discovered that the entire website is the work of one man, who evidently doesn’t care much for self promotion. Here is a screenshot from the “About” page on the global issues website:
Wow, what a godsend. Just stop for a moment and drink in how intelligent, confident, simple, to-the-point, and reassuring those words on the About page are. This is exactly the kind of website that I want to find when I perform a google search. I have already bookmarked it and I cannot imagine not referring to it again. The articles cover issues such as the arms trade, climate change and global warming, the G8, genetically modified food, the middle east crisis, consumerism, biodiversity, causes of poverty, third world debt, the war on terrorism, health care issues, and many more.
What I really like about the site, however, is the focus on clarity and organization. The tone of the articles is matter-of-fact and Shah almost always starts with a high-level overview. They read like well-written and well-researched executive reports. Take a look at the article on Coral Reefs, for instance. It begins with an explanation that a fifth grader can comprehend, but which is probably also a great place for President Obama to begin if he wants a quick run down on how coral reefs affect the globe:
Coral reefs cover an area of over 280,000 km2 and support thousands of species in what many describe as the “rainforests of the seas”.
Coral reefs benefit the environment and people in numerous ways. For example, they
Protect shores from the impact of waves and from storms;
Provide benefits to humans in the form of food and medicine;
Provide economic benefits to local communities from tourism.
The World Meteorological Organization says that tropical coral reefs yield more than US$ 30 billion annually in global goods and services, such as coastline protection, tourism and food.
From there the article goes on to discuss a number of issues that Mr. Shah feels should be major causes of concern, such as the fact coral reefs are dying around the world and the political will to do anything about this problem is lacking. The article notably contains some excellent pictures and genuinely helpful maps and is also chock full of quotes from additional authoritative reports and articles. It ends with a list of resources where the reader can go for more information and also helpfully provides instructions on how to cite the article. One should do it as follows:
Shah, Anup. “Coral Reefs.” Global Issues, Updated: 16 Jan. 2011. Accessed: 06 Mar. 2011.
Essentially the website functions as Anup Shah’s own private publication where he has chosen to write highly informative reports about what he feels are the most pressing issues of concern that the world faces. I am glad that the Internet has made it possible for such an outlet to exist.