The media’s need to find breaking news tends to portray a pretty bleak view of the world.
Pick up any newspaper or turn on the news and unfortunately war, natural disasters, corruption or violent crimes are the top stories.
With such a portrayal, it’s easy to subconsciously believe that the world is a place that has been overtaken by hate, destruction and wrongdoing. And sadly, in some countries this is the harsh and incredibly unjust reality.
However, what gets less attention in the headlines is the fact that we are making remarkable progress in fields such as technology or through government initiatives, which as a result, are continuously bringing substantial improvements to millions of people across the world.
Former US President, Bill Clinton, painted a very optimistic picture for the future when he recently wrote an article in Time Magazine. In this article, he provides examples of breakthroughs throughout the world in technology, healthcare, economy, equality and justice – proving that the world is turning into a better and more sustainable place.
You can read the full article here, however we’re highlighted some facts below that certainly gave us something to feel optimistic about.
For example, did you know that we now have a chance to win our fight against AIDS? In 2002, a mere 230,000 people in the developing world were getting the advanced type of treatment required. However this number has since changed to eight million due to the pharmaceutical industry changing their tactics from being a low-volume, high-profit business, to producing high volumes and reducing their margins.
We have also seen advances in gender equality with it spreading throughout the world. As pointed out by Bill Clinton, “Simply put, no society can truly flourish if it stifles the dreams and productivity of half its population.”
While this has been common knowledge in many cultures for some time, in less developed parts of the world where women have been defined by more traditional roles, they are seeing a change. Rwanda has come up in leaps and bounds over the last 14 years as now more than half of its members of Parliament are women (the first country in the world to achieve this!) and 55% of farmers in eastern Rwanda are women.
Meanwhile in the US, where child obesity has reached epidemic proportions, the beverage industry voluntarily removed full-calorie soft drinks from schools and replaced them with lower-calorie and nutritious drinks. Since this was implemented, full-calorie soft drinks orders to schools have dropped by an astounding 95%.
Turning to the global economy, while the recent economic crisis is still having an impact in many parts of the world, during the 25-year window prior to this, more people have moved from poverty to middle class than ever have before. This has been the result of countries across the world looking for ways to boost their economy through using their local resources and forming cooperatives, while addressing heavy issues such as climate change and poverty.
For example, did you know that smallholder farmers in Africa are planting trees not only for their own survival and local produce, but to profit from selling carbon credits on the world market? It’s these types of initiatives that are helping to reduce poverty in ways that have not been available before.
Now that’s certainly a case for optimism.
If you’ve heard of other projects or initiatives that are helping to change the world, please do share them below. Or check out what our friends at the Global Awesomeness Report are doing to spread happiness, peace and love!