If you pick any time in history you will see the problems of that era covered in the news and history records. When you compare them to today, you will see them getting increasingly more difficult as time goes on.
As a species, we are an out of control rapidly growing infestation on this planet. We consume more than we need and harm the planet. So we can add global warming to the list of challenges. This would seem to be a new entry over the last 5 years or so.
The more people, the more variables. So you can think of it as loading a boat. A heavy boat in rough weather can be a disaster waiting to happen. So this global economic problem requires helping many more people than similar economic events of the past. The global population was about 30% of what it is today during the 1929 Great Depression.
What we call modern terrorism might be said to have begun in 1968 when the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hijacked an El Al airliner en route from Tel Aviv to Rome. From there it has grown, and the defense resources of a given country are now more focused on fighting what could be loosely defined as small armies not associated directly with any country. Conventional war of country fighting country is not nearly as much in the news as terrorism. So this also becomes part of the challenges of today that were not around in the past. Add the nuclear weapon element to this and you can see where this looks to go.
The spread of illness like the Swine flu is much more rapid thanks to modern technology. When the 1918 flu was the name of the game, a journey by land or sea were the only options. That changed when air travel became the norm. Now people can arrive at their destination from days to hours before they show any symptoms of infection. That simply results in many more people getting infected.
The world is running out of oil, and many countries have delayed making the transition to new energy. Those delays based on greed are now here to haunt us. The price of oil plays such a huge roll in everyone’s lives it is scarey when you come and think about it. The world got a good taste of that in 2008 with oil at $147 per barrel. That reality check was like a slap in the face with a 2 by 4.
Looking ahead seeing the need to move population centers inland because of rising sea levels will be on the plate very soon along with famine as sudden wide spread weather events can wipe out huge crops over night tipping the ballance.
The world is a changing place and come the year 2110, the challenges of today will seem like nothing, that is if we survive ourselves. To know that answer, we must see if our words match our actions, and are abilities allow us to achieve them.