Best Year Ever

It seems like there’s bad news to report every day. Wildfires. Floods. Mass shootings. Stock market crashes. Glaciers melting. Wars. Corruption. Terrorist attacks. And on and on and on.

You can get downright depressed just by keeping up with what’s going on in the world. Are things really that bad?

Not according to Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. In fact, in one of his most recent columns, he made the case that 2018 could go down as the best year in human history.  But given all the turmoil around us, how can that be?

Kristof writes that never before in human history have more people been literate and affluent. Until the1950s, most people lived in “extreme poverty,” defined as less than $2 per person, per day. In the 1980s, the number dropped to 44 percent. Today, when adjusted for inflation, fewer than 10 percent do.

Never before have people lived as long or been as confident that their children would survive. In 1960, 19 percent of children worldwide died by the age of 5. By 2003 the percentage was 7. In 2018, the number dropped to 4 percent.

Kristof points to many advancements in the world which go largely unreported, but have immense impacts on improving the quality of life for humanity. Such as water. Kristof notes that each day 305,000 people are able to access clean drinking water for the first time.

Or take electricity. On average, Kristof notes that each day 295,000 people gain access to electricity for the first time. This makes radical improvements in their health, education and personal comfort. With electricity and advances in technology, another 620,000 people each day were able to get Internet access for the first time last year.

Certainly, there will be more bad news stories in the days, weeks, months and years to come. There are huge challenges facing us to be sure. Each of us will also endure setbacks such as loss of jobs, personal tragedies, injuries or the loss of loved ones in our lives. Yet, when we look at the bigger picture, we will see that things are not as bad as they may appear in the news and that progress is happening.

We all can be glad for the gains which have been made. It shows us what truly can be accomplished and gives us hope when sometimes things may sound hopeless.

Link to the article – https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/05/opinion/sunday/2018-progress-poverty-health.html