For the last 12 months, the global media has been focused on a lot of bad news. But there were other things happening out there too: conservation successes, huge wins for global health, more peace and tolerance, less war and violence, rising living standards, some big clean energy milestones, and a quiet turning of the tide in the fight against plastic. Stories of human progress, that didn’t make it into the evening broadcasts, or onto your social media feeds.
Our media feeds are echo chambers. And those echo chambers don’t just reflect our political beliefs; they reflect our feelings about human progress. Bad news is a bubble too.
“If it bleeds, it leads” isn’t a phrase coined by some cut-throat tabloid editor. It’s a potent truth that lies at the heart of the modern day media machine. It’s time for some balance. That’s why our team at Future Crunch spent the year gathering good news stories you probably didn’t hear about,
We at GaiaInnovations have selected a few of the 99 cases below:
Some of the biggest conservation successes in generation
5. In 2016, more than 20 countries pledged more than $5.3 billion for ocean conservation and created 40 new marine sanctuaries covering an area of 3.4 million square km. Reuters
9. In December, the United States and Canada announced a joint permanent ban on all offshore oil and gas activity in the Arctic. CBC News
Huge strides forward for global health
11. In 2016, some of the world’s biggest diseases, like colon cancer, dementia and heart disease, started declining in wealthy countries. New York Times
17. 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. Quartz
Political and economic progress in many parts of the world
25. 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. Medium
27. World hunger reached its lowest point in 25 years. New York Times
31. In 1990, more than 60% of people in East Asia lived in extreme poverty. As of 2016, that proportion has dropped to 3.5%. Vox
35. In June, after years of wrangling, the drive to end female genital mutilation in Africa made a major breakthrough, when the Pan African Parliament endorsed a continent-wide ban. The Wire
We finally started responding seriously to the climate change emergency
42. The Paris Agreement became the fastest (and largest) United Nations treaty to go from agreement to international law in modern history. CBS
74. The average number of large oil spills around the world has been drastically reduced, from an average of 24.5 per year in the 1970s, to just 1.8 a year in 2015. ITOPF
Endangered animals got a some well-deserved breaks
79. At this year’s CITES conference, 183 countries agreed to the strongest protections ever for endangered animals, with big wins for parrots, rhinos, porpoises, rays and elephants. Washington Post
81. Wild wolves started coming back to Europe, and for the first time since the American Revolution, wild salmon began spawning in the Connecticut River. Al Jazeera
86. Humpback whales were removed from the endangered species list, having fully recovered in the last 46 years. Science Mag
The world got more generous
92. In April, Pony Ma Huateng, the chief executive of the Chinese internet giant Tencent, donated $2 billion to charity. South China Morning Post
93. 2015 was America’s most generous year ever, with charitable donations from individuals, estates, foundations and corporations reaching record highs. 2016 is on track to be even bigger. Associated Press
94. In 2016, charitable giving in China rose to $15 billion, a 10 fold increase from just a decade ago Bloomberg
Read the whole article with all the 99 reasons by Angus Hervey from Future Crunch in Medium.
In radio you can listen to political economist Angus Hervey tells Jesse Mulligan why 2016 was, in fact, a very good year.
Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in TED Talks 2016 where I discussed many of the challenges presented by the climate crisis. But a powerful shift has been taking place, and it is clear that we will ultimately prevail. Here’s why:
There are now only three questions we have to answer about climate change and our future.
1. MUST we change?
Each day we spew 110 million tons of heat-trapping global warming pollution into the very thin shell of atmosphere surrounding the planet, using it as an open sewer for the gaseous waste of our industrial civilization as it is presently organized…