What Are Contemporary Issues?

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Any modern-day trend, event, idea or topic involving a subject that’s relevant to people and affecting them in some way can be defined as a contemporary issue. From climate change to technology and from social issues to health, contemporary issues abound in almost every area of our current lives. The contemporary issues definition also has a caveat that the current events affecting people are unresolved. People often bring attention to contemporary issues because they want to work towards a solution to those problems.

Contemporary issues’ meanings help shape our society and play a role in the ways we interact with one another. Some contemporary issues are useful and unifying for society, like electronic banking, while others can be divisive — think politics, climate issues or universal healthcare. Here’s a look at some of the key contemporary issues our society faces today.

Climate Change

Global warming, the growing strength of storms and overdevelopment of our natural lands are key contemporary issues today, according to the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Survey. Regarding climate change, advocates see the need to battle against the tide of climate change and its overall impact on society before it advances to the point that Earth becomes uninhabitable. However, figuring out the right path and precise steps to battle climate change is a heated, debatable contemporary issue. 

Technology Change

Several decades years ago, advancements in technology were poised to make us a faster, more productive society. In many ways, technology has done this. From our daily use of computers to our dependence on the “always-on” internet to our multitiered relationships with social media, it’s clear that technology has advanced our society. However, these advancements are not always seen as wholly beneficial, and this is a contemporary issue that’s gaining prominence now that the true effects of technology are realized.

Technology enthusiasts are always aiming for the next great app, faster mobile network and greater commercial opportunity. However, other people in society think that there is too much technology already. Many point to the prevalent use of mobile devices around the world. They’re in human hands for many hours of the day and can distract us from otherwise important day-to-day issues and tasks.

Social Change

Matters of race, class, income and political persuasion have long been issues and continue to be so today. For example, in the U.S., the income divide between the so-called “one percent,” which are those U.S. households with an annual income of more than $475,000, and the rest of society is a clear example of a contemporary social issue that engages people. 

Health Change

The awareness of health and wellness topics in people’s daily lives is also a strong contemporary issue. From the exercise people do ― or don’t do ― to the food they put into their bodies to the supplements they take, health and wellness has exploded into a multibillion-dollar industry. The National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute both also consider obesity and cancer and the link between them as contemporary health issues.