Durban - Women and younger leaders of both sexes are more worried than older men about the environmental risks facing the world over the next 10 years, especially climate change.
This is one of the conclusions in the World Economic Forum’s latest annual report on emerging global risks.
Environmental risks are now much higher on the top 10 global risks radar compared with three years ago.
The World Economic Forum report is based on a survey of more than 700 “leaders and decision-makers” from business, government, academia and non-governmental and international organisations. Of these, about 25 percent were younger than 30.
The fear of financial crises topped the top-10 list of global risks, with water scarcity and pollution ranked at number three, the lack of action to tackle climate change at number five and the fear of extreme weather events number six.
While the risk of financial crises in major economies and unemployment were ranked as of highest concern, environmental risks were ranked among those of high impact.
“Female respondents perceived almost all global risks as both more likely and more impactful than did males.
“Younger individuals gave higher scores for the impact of almost all of the risks, particularly environmental risks such as water crises, greater incidence of natural catastrophes, the loss of biodiversity and greater incidence of extreme weather events.”
There was also a noticeable decline of trust in institutions, fears of a lack of leadership and growing concern about novel forms of pollution or accidents linked to new technologies.
The forum report says there is a growing body of literature to suggest women are “typically more sensitive to risk than men”.
“Studies also show that women are likely to be concerned about environmental issues. Some argue this reflects a tendency for women to think more of the long term than men, and to have a more network-focused approach rather than a linear approach to problem-solving.”
Other concerns in this year’s top 10 risk list include unemployment, food shortages, income disparity, global governance failure and “profound political and social instability”. - The Mercury