Why this was a great year for humanity

great year for humanity

At the top of my blog it says “Marketing, Social Media, Humanity.”

These are carefully chosen words because this blog is an intersection of those three things. And as a person who studies that intersection, I have felt a little down this year.

I’m a positive person but I noticed a lot of darkness on the blog lately. I’ve written about hacking, bullying, unethical companies hijacking our content and our ads, the decline of human interaction and other rather depressing topics. Like you, I have been impacted by the unimaginable horror of ISIS, terrorist attacks, senseless gun violence, and other tragedies which now seem chronic in our lives.

But I came across an excellent piece by Angus Hervey called 11 Reasons why 2015 was Good for Humanity. It is an uplifting post and I encourage you to read it. It lifted me up and made me smile. Here is a brief summary of his positive points:

1) We are approaching global, universal education. In the last 15 years the number of children without access to education has halved, from 100 million to 57 million. Nine out of ten children in the world are learning to read and write. We’re one generation away from a world where every single person is literate.

2) Extreme poverty dropped below 10%. It’s the lowest number of people living in extreme poverty in the last 200 years.

3) More people got connected to the internet than ever before. There are now 3.2 billion people online, and 2 billion of them are from developing countries. The number of people with internet access increased by 800% in 15 years.

4) Millions of people gained access to finance for the first time. Between 2011 and 2014 an additional 700 million people became account holders at banks, other financial institutions, or mobile money service providers, and the number of ‘unbanked’ individuals dropped by 20%. This is a key driver of economic development.

5) AIDS deaths came down for the 15th year in a row. In the 1980s and 1990s, AIDS was seldom out of the headlines. For the 37 million people around the world living with AIDS today though, the disease is now both treatable and preventable. The possibility of an HIV-free generation is now within sight.

6) Malaria death rates are at an all time low. Malaria is one of the world’s biggest killers, responsible for more deaths than all car accidents around the world. Globally, the number of malaria deaths fell from an estimated 839,000 in 2000 to 438,000 in 2015. That means we’ve saved an estimated 6.2 million people from malaria in the last 15 years

7) Polio is about to be eradicated forever. In the past 25 years, the number of polio cases has been reduced by 99%

8) Fewer people went hungry this year than ever before. The number of people suffering from chronic hunger has dropped by around 200 million since 1990. That’s pretty impressive, especially since the world’s population grew by 1.9 billion people during the same period.

9) More people have access to clean water. This year, the number of people without access to clean drinking water fell below 700 million for the first time in history. It means that 91% of the global population now uses an improved drinking water source, up from 76% in 1990.

10) Child mortality plunged for the 43rd year in a row.

11) We reached a tipping point in the fight against climate change. 2015 is the first year ever that CO2 emissions declined during a year when the overall global economy grew. The signing of the Paris Agreement commits almost 200 countries to hold the global average temperature to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

These numbers filled me with a sense of hope and wonder. Think about the billions of dollars being spent today to combat these diseases, hunger, and poverty. With this rapid progress, where will the focus, and these considerable resources, turn next? Can we live in a world without human slavery, drug addictions, and terror?

Considering the progress we have seen in just a few decades on these other fronts, I want to say YES!

Sure, the Internet has become corrupt and dangerous in some ways but it is also a place of incredible beauty, intelligence, compassion, charity, and unity. It is a powerful driver of economic development, discovery, and enlightenment for people in every corner of the world.

This was a great year for humanity. The world is healing.

What we think about, we bring about. Let’s carry the hope of progress and peace into our lives, families, and worklife as we enter a bright new year.

The illustration is a sunrise viewed from my home.

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