Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2016 Rocked, 2017 will be Even Better

Some Reasons 2016 Rocked (from a cool list of attributed news story facts published by political economist Angus Hervey on ‘99 Reasons 2016 Was a Good Year’ gathered by the intrepid team at Future Crunch.)
  • Since the year 2000, global malaria deaths have declined by 60%.
  • In 2016, some of the world’s biggest diseases, like colon cancer, dementia and heart disease, started declining in wealthy countries.
  • The number of women dying from pregnancy and childbirth has almost halved since 1990.
  • Life expectancy in Africa has increased by 9.4 years since 2000, thanks to improvements in child survival, progress in malaria control and expanded access to ARVs.
  • Mobile phones made significant inroads in the fight against rabies, a disease which kills more people annually than all terrorists combined.
  • Harvard scientists created a new platform for antibiotic discovery that may help solve the crisis of antibiotic resistance.
  • The proportion of older US adults with dementia, including Alzheimer’s declined from 11.6% in 2000 to 8.8% in 2012, a decrease of about a million people.
  • 93% of kids around the world learned to read and write this year. That’s the highest proportion in human history. And the gender gap between girls and boys in school narrowed in 2016 too.
  • In 2016, for the first time ever, the amount of money it would take to end poverty dropped below the amount of money spent on foreign aid.
  • World hunger reached its lowest point in 25 years.
  • Homelessness in the United States declined by 35% since 2007, and Los Angeles committed to $1.2 billion to help get more people off the street.
  • 2016 marked the 24th year in a row that teenage pregnancy rates declined in the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • The Paris Agreement became the fastest (and largest) United Nations treaty to go from agreement to international law in modern history.
  • Global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels did not grow at all in 2016. It’s the third year in a row emissions have flat lined.
  • In April, the UK’s Chatham House released a report saying “Big Oil is screwed”. In the same month, 25% of European countries announced that they had quit coal.
  • In July, the USA, Mexico and Canada committed to getting 50% of their electricity from renewables by 2025.
  • In October, the International Energy Agency reported that half a million solar panels were installed each day around the world in 2015. It also drastically increased its five year growth forecast for renewables.
  • Following the end of conflict in Colombia in 2016, all of the war in the world is now limited to an arc that contains less than a sixth of the world’s population.
  • In December, four of the world’s biggest cities, Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City, agreed to ban diesel cars from their centres.
  • Sea World agreed to stop breeding captive killer whales.
  • In September, giant pandas became the latest species to be taken off the endangered list.
  • And in 2016, for the first time, we heard that the number of tigers in the wild rose for the first time in 100 years.
The Good News for 2017

This (with a few adjusts) from Nicholas Kristof writing recently and buoyantly in The New York Times on ‘Why 2017 May Be the Best Year Ever’:
  • By some important metrics, 2016 was the best year in the history of humanity. And 2017 will be better still.
  • 250,000 people came out of extreme poverty every day – 91m people p.a. (World Bank). This is a Vietnam-size country every year. And yet polls show that about 9 out of 10 Americans believe that global poverty has worsened or stayed the same.
  • In the early 1980s, more than 40% of all humans were living in extreme poverty. Now fewer than 10% are. By 2030 it looks as if just 3% or 4% will be. We are wiping poverty out.
  • Since 1990, more than 100 million children’s lives have been saved through vaccinations, breast-feeding promotion, diarrhoea treatment and more. A parent is only half as likely today to lose a child, as in 1990.
  • Until the 1960s, a majority of humans had always been illiterate; now, 85% of adults are literate.
  • Today some 18,000 children who in the past would have died of simple diseases will survive, about 300,000 people will gain electricity and a cool 250,000 will graduate from extreme poverty.
That’s better! Radical Optimism Rocks.

Image source: Allegro Music