• Reasons to be Cheerful

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    02 January 2019

    News is not news unless it is sensationalist, grim, shocking , critical, divisive or perhaps all of the aforementioned. I exaggerate of course but not by much. We tend to be fed and it has to be said tend to demand a diet of doom in our news feeds. A traffic accident half way around the world trumps someone closer to home who might have done some especially good deed. You see, nice does not cut it – the accident draws us in – the good deed struggles to deliver. So what has gone right in the world recently? Well quite a lot actually. Forget all the party political squabbling for a moment – step back and consider the following. Extreme poverty is now at its lowest level in the history of the planet – not least due to free trade and economic growth. More than a billion additional people are receiving electricity than just 20 years ago. When it comes to education, 85% of the world is now literate and 90% of girls are attending primary schools. Life expectancy is at a historic high and infant mortality at an all time low, not least due to the stamping out of many of human kind’s greatest killers and of course due to better sanitation. Malaria will soon be a disease of the past just as polio has been all but eradicated. Immunisation has spread apace with outstanding results. Flu? Get a jab and never have to worry about the Spanish flu epidemic that just after the first world war took more lives world-wide than that terrible conflict itself. The environment is a worry – President Trump’s approach to the Paris climate agreement is a huge concern and yet the ozone layer above the Antarctic is the smallest it has been since the turn of the century. We are better in our use of water too. Today we use the same amount in advanced nations as we did in 1970 even though the population across these countries has increased by a half. We are far more careful in avoiding carbon dioxide production – finding ways of growing our economies without producing ever more. Over the last 30 years the EU’s economy has grown by over 50% and yet this has been accompanied by a drop in carbon production of around a third. Violence is also in a better place than for some time – crime rates have been falling in advanced countries and across the globe deaths as a result of terrorism have fallen by a fifth since 2014. So before we revert to all the things that are not right in the world and indeed here in the UK take a charitable moment at least to think about the good things that mankind has achieved – all those great individuals, families, businesses, charities, organisations, millions of hopeful and well-meaning folks and yes governments too that have made a difference for the better. More from Mel on twitter @MelJStride and at