We kicked off Mother's Day with a surprise for Dalanee. I woke the kids early and we went to Publix, eager to prepare a full breakfast for her. The kids were buzzing with excitement. We delivered coffee in bed, accompanied by a cuddle from our youngest. Then, Chris played her favorite piano melodies while we showered her with gifts.
She spent the rest of the day unwinding at the beach, her sanctuary. It's no secret: Dalanee is an extraordinary mom and wife. We're truly blessed to have her.
The two youngest boys also had their year-end violin concert. According to my son, Alex, "This is the last time I am ever going to pick up a violin."
Why Are You So Negative?
I just can’t do it anymore. It’s depressing, it’s discouraging, and it’s upsetting. I can't watch the news anymore. It seems that the vast majority of television news is so painfully doom and gloom that it paints the world as declining into disaster.
It's not just depressing; it's misleading.
If you look past the rhetoric and start examining the facts and data about our world, one could argue that the progress the planet is experiencing right now is the most exciting and encouraging in all of human history.
So here they are. Ten facts about the world that should make you proud to inhabit this planet. (All data comes from Factfulness, by Hans Rosling).
Extreme poverty in the world has been cut in half over the past twenty years. Countries such as China, India, Pakistan, and Vietnam have seen profound improvements in their standard of living.
In 1990, 37% of the world's population lived in extreme poverty (less than $1.90 per person per day). Today that number has been reduced to an amazing 10%. According to author Gregg Easterbrook, "The decline of developing-world poverty should be viewed as the focal story of the last quarter-century."
In the year 1800, the life expectancy throughout the world was 30 years. This number is a little misleading because nearly half of the people died during childhood, pulling down life expectancy averages. What is the average life expectancy in the world today? 72.
In 1800, 44% of children died before their 5th birthday. (A statistic so grim it's hard even to consider.) Now, the number stands at 4% worldwide. I don’t know about you, but I can’t even imagine living in a world where nearly half of the kids in my neighborhood die from smallpox or polio.
The terrible violence of war has also dipped significantly. In the early 1940s, 201 people out of every 100,000 died in battle. In the past 30 years worldwide, battle deaths have dropped precipitously. From 1990-2017, one person died in battle yearly for every 100,000 people on this planet. Sadly, the war in Ukraine will bring those numbers back up somewhat.
Nuclear proliferation has been reduced dramatically as well. In 1986 there were 64,000 nuclear warheads in the world. Today, the number stands at 15,000. While we have a long way to go, the nuclear arms race has clearly been reversed.
Hunger worldwide has experienced similar progress. In 1970, 28% of the world was undernourished. Today that number has been reduced to 11%. That equates to nearly ONE BILLION fewer people going to bed hungry today versus 50 years ago. While 11% is still unacceptable, organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have made it their mission to pour billions of dollars into eradicating world hunger once and for all.
While we still have a lot of work to do to protect our environment, we have already made more progress than many people realize. Ozone-depleting substances have been dramatically reduced since 1970. In 1970, 1,663,000 tons of ozone-depleting substances were dispersed into the air. In 2016 that number had dropped to 22,000 tons. That is about 99% fewer pollutants going into the air.
Democratic nations are now proliferating across the world. In 1816 only 1% of the world's population lived in a democratic society (all of whom lived in the U.S.A.). That number today is 56%.
Literacy rates have skyrocketed in the past 200 years. In the year 1800, incredibly, only 10% of the world's population could read. In 2016, the number had increased to an 86% literacy rate. Literacy rates might have the most profound and far-reaching effects on progress in this world.
A lack of clean drinking water has created devastation for centuries. In 1980 only 58% of the world's population had access to clean drinking water. Now nearly 88% of the world receives water from a clean, protected source. Diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, and dysentery have caused misery for thousands of years, and current technologies could erase these terrible illnesses in the near future.
Lastly, the number of people with cell phones has increased from .0003% in 1980 to 75% of the world population owning a cell phone today. Why is this such an important advancement?
While the overuse of smartphones in the U.S. is well-documented (hang around with a group of middle school girls), people in developing countries use cell phones to improve commerce and receive life-saving information—and, of course, it lets them see what their friends from high school are doing.
I hope all of this information gives you a good sense of what an incredibly positive trajectory the world is moving on. Getting caught up in the news about petty political squabbles is so easy. And it is equally easy to get hyper-focused on tragic events happening across the globe. While this world is certainly not perfect, and tremendous effort is required to solve the problems we still face, we have come a LONG way.
P.S.- I am doing Social Security Strategy webinars each Saturday at 10:00. To register go to www.SocialSecurityRSVP.com.