With all these negative stories and data flooding our social media at the moment about climate change and social unrest, it can be hard to stay optimistic about the future. 

Bad news or just more news?

Being constantly bombarded with the negative news can make it hard to know if the increase in bad events is due to things becoming more common or whether the events are just more visible due to better sharing platforms. 

More news about terrorism makes it seem like there is more terrorism. This phenomenon is known as the availability heuristic, it causes us to make judgements about events based on how easily they comes to mind;

So I wanted to share 6 less publicised but just as important positive facts to help keep things in perspective;

1. Violence is decreasing and peace is spreading 

In the words of Steven Pinker “today we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.”

You might think of the past to be a more simple and peaceful time than the chaotic world we live in today. However, research shows we were extremely violent in tribes and actually gradually became less so with the development of larger civilisations and globalisation.

In addition, though recently we have seen a rise in conflicts fewer battles are actually being fought and as a consequence, less lives are lost.

2. Deaths from natural disasters have more than halved

Deaths from natural disasters have more than halved and accounts of only 0.1% of global deaths in the past decade. 

We are still experiencing the same quantity of disaster, some decades worse than others, however, improvements in prediction, infrastructure, emergency preparedness, and response systems are saving more lives each year. 

3. World population growth is decreasing

Despite the total population of the world still increasing the global population growth rate peaked a long time ago. As the global quality of life improves birth rates are subsequently decreasing.

Since 1963, world population growth has halved. For the last half-century, we have lived in a world in which the population growth rate has been declining.

The UN projects that this decline will continue in the coming decades and that the world’s population will peak at nearly 11 billion around 2100.

The majority of today’s population growth is taking place in the least developed areas of the world, Sub-saharan Africa and south-east Asia where child mortality rates are still high. By investing and improving the lives of these people we could slow population growth even more and reduce our impact on the environment.

4. Terrorism is decreasing

Terrorisms is decreasing in ‘developed’ countries and accounted for only 0.9% of all deaths between 2007 – 2016. The majority of terrorism is actually taking place inside countries such as Iraq (which accounts for half), Pakistan, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Syria 

Despite these positive trends, half the US population say they are still worried about becoming a victim of terrorism and consequently avoid specific activities (Gallup).

The chances of you being involved or killed in a terrorist event are so small, in America, you are 6.9 million times more likely to die from cancer or heart disease.

5. Child mortality is drastically decreasing

Globally, the under-five mortality rate has decreased by 59%. Most of the increase in child survival is due to improvements in maternal literacy and community care. 

6. The world is more educated than ever before

Global literacy rates have increased over the last two centuries, mainly through higher rates of primary education attendance. However. secondary and tertiary education have also seen amazing growth. Global average years of schooling being much higher now than a hundred years ago.