On a personal level, what are our vital interests? At the most generic level, they are: food, water, shelter, physical health, financial security, social & professional relationships, knowledge or skill and the environment.
Given that the world is increasingly globalized and interdependent, and that this has significant impact on where we study, work or retire, there are a half dozen global issues worth considering when planning for our future or our families future. Lets take water scarcity, oil consumption and population trends as examples.
This is a map of world water scarcity trends from 1980 to 2015. Source: U.S. National Intelligence Council, Global Trends 2015 report.
India’s current population is around one billion people. By 2020 they are expected to add approximately three to four hundred million more souls, or about the total population of the United States, thus exceeding the growth rate of China. In third place for growth rate by the way, is Pakistan and notice in the above map how their water situation is going. By 2030 India’s oil consumption is expected to double. Meanwhile, India is rapidly running out of water. See this BBC news article dated 7 July 2009: Mumbai Faces Acute Water Shortage. It is my opinion, that due to population growth, groundwater depletion and shrinking the Himalayan glaciers, ALL regions of India (and surrounding regions) will suffer catastrophic water scarcity in the near future.
As an aside, Mexico has almost identical problems and Saudi Arabia’s water supply is entirely dependent on oil to run desalinization plants. The U.S. does not escape this trend due to aquifer depletion and climate change fueling the northward expansion of something called the Hadley Cells.
Notice where the clouds are and are not. The hot, moist air rises over the equator and, as it cools, dumps all its moisture in the equatorial/tropical zone. The resulting dry air travels north before coming down. The area above that very clear line across North Africa shows what the Hadley Cells do and what is intensifying and expanding into North America, Europe and Asia. The southern Hadley Cells are less intense due to the difference in land mass in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
These mega-trends – water scarcity, climate shifting, demographics and more – must be taken into consideration with regards to future plans. They will not just effect “far away” places like India. How they go anywhere will be in our vital interests.