Things I’ve Learned:

Roughly 1 in 7 people on the planet live in extreme poverty.

Proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day, 1990 and 2010 (Percentage)
Source: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2014.

Bar Chart

Though it’s a staggering, sad figure to consider that 1.2 billion individuals live in extreme poverty in our world today, it’s worth noting that overall the number of individuals living in extreme poverty continues to decrease (and the same can be said for the child mortality rate and HIV incidence rate).

Last year, Bill Gates made the prediction that “by 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world.” There are many in the world, most notably the 24-hour media machine, that weigh in on dooms-day models of our future, painting a grim picture of our current state of affairs: great despair, terror, and violence experienced around the globe. There’s the myth* that people are starving around the world as a direct result of overpopulation; “the fact is, incomes and other measures of human welfare are rising almost everywhere, including in Africa.” Media can distort our understanding of the world through its reporting and our own constant consumption of it. It’s vital to, however challenging, remain objective. Thought it may not seem like it, we are living in a more peaceful, better educated, greater developed, healthier and wealthier world than all those that came before us. Remain optimistic and ever-vigilant in working towards equality all, I suppose that’s fundamentally what I’m getting at.

I’ll leave you with this:

“By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. People are living longer, healthier lives. Many nations that were aid recipients are now self-sufficient. You might think that such striking progress would be widely celebrated, but in fact, Melinda and I are struck by how many people think the world is getting worse. The belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful.”

-Bill Gates

*There are starving people around the globe, no doubt, but those facing extreme hunger are not suffering due to there being too many people on our planet consuming a too small supply of food. That is a common and convenient myth for those in the developed world. The fact is that people are starving due to income inequality, effects of climate change and lack of infrastructure especially in poor countries, and waste (just to name a few). Our supply of food is abundant, in fact,  in America, 30% of the food grown is wasted. We can, most certainly, do better.