“If we want to change the story of the human race in the 21st century,
we need to change the stories we tell ourselves."
- Future Crunch magazine
Here are some of the good things
that were reported (but very few saw)
1. New surveys revealed that the population of humpback whales in the South Atlantic region now number 24,900 — almost 93% of their population size before they were hunted to the brink of extinction. (BBC). Dolphins are now breeding in the Potomac River in Washington for the first time since the 1880s, whale populations are exploding off the shores of New York, and 100 seal pups have been born on the shores of the Thames, 60 years after the river was declared 'biologically dead.' (Telegraph)
2. China's tree stock rose by 4.56 billion m³ between 2005 and 2018, deserts are shrinking by 2,400 km² a year, and forests now account for 22% of land area. (SCMP) And in July, Ethiopia smashed the world record for tree planting. Led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, millions of Ethiopians planted 353 million trees in 12 hours. (BBC)
3. The US Senate passed its most sweeping conservation legislation in a decade, protecting 1.3 million acres and withdrawing 370,000 acres from land available to mining companies. (LA Times) And Canada became the first country in the world to protect more than 10% of its ocean waters, after the government partnered with Inuit custodians to create a vast new conservation zone in the Arctic - the Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area and the Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area. (National Observer)
4. Between 1990 and 2017, the number of kids and teenagers dying around the world decreased by more than half, from 13.77 million to 6.64 million. (CNN) And Save the Children’s 2019 Global Childhood Report showed that children's lives have improved in 173 out of 176 countries over the past 20 years. Compared to 2000, today there are:
- 4.4 million fewer child deaths per year
- 130 million more children in school
- 94 million fewer child labourers
- 11 million fewer girls forced into marriage or married early
5. The biggest global story you didn’t hear about this year was the successful conclusion of India's extraordinary sanitation drive. In the last five years, 90 million toilets have been built, 93% of households now have access, and 500 million people have stopped 'pooping' in the open. (Economic Times)
6. New research showed that the proportion of people in extreme poverty around the world fell from 36% in 1990 to 8.6% in 2018. Absolute numbers were down from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 610 million in 2018. (ODI) Poverty in the United States reached its lowest rate since 2007, with 1.4 million people leaving poverty in a single year, and poverty in Canada reached the lowest level ever recorded, 9.5%, down from 15.6% in 2006.
7. The 2019 Global Terrorism Index revealed that deaths from terrorism decreased by 15.2% last year, the fourth consecutive year of improvement. The overall number of terror attacks fell by a third and deaths by 50%. (GTI) The number of people killed in wars around the world also reached its lowest level in seven years. (PRIO)
8. Lazard, the industry benchmark on energy costing, says that the cost of new wind and solar in 2019 dropped below the cost of keeping many of the world’s existing coal and nuclear power plants running. According to one senior analyst: "This year was well and truly the point at which we entered the next phase of the energy revolution. The question now is no longer “is it cheaper?” The question from here on is “how fast can we deploy?”
9. The world’s sixth largest economy, the United Kingdom, generated more electricity from wind, sun, water and biomass in the third quarter of the year than from coal, oil and gas. (Carbon Brief) The world’s fourth largest economy, Germany, generated more electricity from wind, sun, water and biomass in the first six months of 2019 than from coal and nuclear. (DW) And the world’s second largest economy, the United States, generated more electricity from wind, sun and water in April than from coal for the first time ever. (The Verge)
“As millions of people have shown us in the past 12 months, action is possible,
better solutions are available and a better future can be built.”
- Editors of Future Crunch
Future Crunch is a team of science communicators based in Melbourne, Australia.
We curate stories of human progress, show people what’s happening on the frontiers of science and technology,
and support small charities around the world.
More than 30,000 people subscribe to our free, fortnightly email newsletter.
To subscribe: https://futurecrun.ch/subscribe