“It’s tough out there right now…”
“Especially during this difficult climate…”
“What is the world coming to?”
These types of phrases are becoming alarmingly familiar in our culture, and the more we hear them, the more severe and upsetting they seem to be. It’s understandable. We’re a country divided by politics and culture—people feel unheard and unwanted. People suffer from poverty, abuse and broken systems. At times, it seems like we are more divided than ever, and in some ways, it is a tough world out there.
But even though the weight of our broken world seems overwhelming, there is good news. We just need to be open to hearing it.
As humans, we actually have a strong negativity bias. And because of this we’re compelled and attracted by bad news, even if it’s subconsciously. We dwell on the bad things in our lives far more than the positive, and news outlets have caught on— bad economic news actually gets more coverage than good news. Survey evidence even shows that few people in affluent countries know that the world has actually taken a turn for the better in recent decades —in fact, only 8 percent of U.S. residents knew that global poverty had fallen since 1996.
So let’s change that. Let’s talk about the good! When the temptation to wallow in pessimism presents itself, think of everything and everyone working to make the world a much better place. Here are a few encouraging charts collected by Vox.com that provide examples to prove it.
1. Overall Economic Growth
There has been a big decline in the share of the world population living on less than $1.90 a day, from nearly 35 percent in 1987 to under 11 percent in 2013. This growth is incredible, causing some development experts to argue that we should now be using a global poverty line of $10-15 a day instead. A sign of growth in and of itself!
2. Global Hunger Has Decreased
A map released by the International Food Policy Research Institute shows changes to the Global Hunger Index between 2000 and 2017. Red indicates an increase, orange or tan indicates a decrease and green indicates a decrease by one half or more.
3. Education Access Has Increased
More people are attending school, and for much longer—even in developing countries. While plenty more work needs to be done, it’s encouraging to see the numbers on a steady incline.
4. Child Labor Has Decreased
While we didn’t meet the International Labor Organization’s goal of eliminating the “worst forms” of child labor by 2016, we have reduced it by 40 percent from 2000 to 2016, an improvement worth celebrating with more work ahead of us.
5. Life Expectancy Is Increasing
Female and male life expectancies have increased by more than six years between 1990 and 2016. And not just in affluent countries— the biggest gains were in poor countries in Africa and Asia.
6. Access To Malaria Bednets Is Increasing
Although it is treatable, malaria remains one of the world’s biggest killers—primarily due to the fact that people don’t have access to insecticide-treated bednets that play a huge role in preventing it. The good news? As this chart from the World Health Organization shows, access to these insecticide-treated bednets is on the rise.
7. Violence And Homicides Have Steadily Declined
Research from criminologist Manuel Eisner shows that overall, we are becoming a less-violent group of people than those of our past. This chart shows that homicide in European countries has been on a steady decline.
8. Access To The Internet Is Increasing
The Internet has the power to open doors to knowledge, communication and education. And while we might not be able to imagine life without it, it is a luxury for many. But as this chart shows, access to the internet in less affluent countries is rapidly rising.
LightWorkers celebrates the good all around us—reminding us that God’s grace is unshakeable, His love unmistakable, His kindness contagious.