With elections, war, and last week Newtown… even the end of the world scheduled for this Friday, December 21, 2012… one can be drawn to despair. Politicians and media work together to create an atmosphere of impending disasters that only they can solve. However, just a little research shows that the fact are that by nearly every measure the big picture of the world filled with good news… Here are some examples:
People are being lifted out of poverty at the fastest rate ever recorded. For the first time since this monitoring task began, the data indicate a decline in both the poverty rate and the number of poor in all six regions of the developing world. More here. World poverty rates have fallen by 80% from 0.268 in 1970 to 0.054 in 2006. The corresponding total number of poor has fallen from 403 million in 1970 to 152 million in 2006. More here.
The developing world as a whole has already attained the first Millennium Development Goal of halving the 1990 incidence of extreme poverty by 2015. More here.
East Asia was the region with the highest incidence of poverty in the world, with 77% living below $1.25 a day in 1981. By 2008 this had fallen to 14%. More here.
From 1970 to 2010, global male life expectancy at birth increased from 56.4 years to 67.5 years and global female life expectancy at birth increased from 61.2 years to 73.3 years. Life expectancy at birth rose by 3—4 years every decade from 1970. See more here.
The last decade has seen fewer war deaths than any decade in the past 100 years. If the world feels like a more violent place than it actually is, that’s because there’s more information about wars — not more wars themselves. See more here.
New infection rates have fallen by 50% or more in 25 countries – 13 of them in sub-Saharan Africa. The number of people dying from Aids has been in decline for the last eight years. Half of all the reductions in HIV infections in the past two years have been among children; this has emboldened our conviction that achieving an AIDS-free generation is not only possible, but imminent. More here.
There has been a reduction in case incidence of 17% globally between 2000 and 2010. Declines in cases incidence are seen in every Region but are greatest in the European (100%), American (60%) and Western Pacific Regions (38%). More here.
Energy generated from shale gas emits only half as much carbon as coal — the energy source which it is already beginning to replace in many American states. It is estimated that $4 spent on shale delivers the same energy as $25 spent on oil. A shale-driven glut of natural gas has halved US electricity prices. While Britain and Europe have been throwing hundreds of billions in subsidies at renewable energy, the US shale gas industry has expanded to account for one-quarter of all the country’s gas production — all without subsidies. More here and here.
Net petroleum imports to U.S. have fallen by more than 38 percent since the 2005 peak and now account for 41 percent of demand, down from 60 percent seven years ago, moving the U.S. closer to energy independence than it has been in decades. “Peak oil is dead.” More here.
Evangelical Christianity is expanding more than three times as fast as the world population, and is hence the only religious group in the world with significant growth through conversion, at a rate almost double that of Islam. More here.
The fastest growth in the number of Christians over the past century has been in sub-Saharan Africa (a roughly 60-fold increase, from fewer than 9 million in 1910 to more than 516 million in 2010) and in the Asia-Pacific region (a roughly 10-fold increase, from about 28 million in 1910 to more than 285 million in 2010). More here.
If this view of the world seems surprising to you, this is a good time to evaluate your news sources and eliminate the fear mongers and crisis creators on both the right (the world is falling apart because of the bad guys) and the left (more government involvement is the solution to everything).
There is hope. “Dont be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12.
What would you add?