Humanity has been one constant struggle. From inception through the middle of the 20th century, our forebears have fought, often literally, for the ideals and freedoms they knew to be God-given. In the 20th century alone, there were two world wars, the Civil Rights movement, multiple political assassinations, the Red Scare, and the Spanish Flu just to mention a few nation and world-changing events. Even going to work was an everyday battle; as recently as 1980 work-related fatalities were 5.11 per 100,000.
After millennia of struggle, here is the good news. At the end of 2017 Child poverty hit an all-time low of 12.7%. The violent crime rate has steadily declined since 1990. Diseases that were once death sentences such as Tuberculosis and HIV are now reduced and the number of people receiving treatment is increasing. There is a vaccine for cholera and eradication of leprosy is targeted in 2020. Cancer deaths are down 25% since 1991 as cancer treatments become more advanced. Prostheses are getting closer to what we only imagined in science fiction. Workplace injuries have been trending down for the last forty years. The world is becoming a better and safer place to live as harmful external forces are decreased or eradicated.
Setting aside issues of life and death, everyday life has become simpler. In 1903 the first cross-country “road trip” was completed from San Francisco, California to Burlington, Vermont in 63 days 12 hours. Today the same road trip would take a mere 45 hours. Smart phones have provided us all the knowledge in the world at our fingertips. Energy may soon be cleanly and efficiently extracted from ocean waves. Self-driving cars and artificial intelligence are on the horizon. Humanity is accelerating towards a world that could never be dreamed of 100 years ago.
There are a lot of frightening stories in the news every day but remember, it is news because it is an outlier. But just as bad news is noticed because it is an outlier, good news goes unmentioned because it is expected. So, no matter what comes up on the TV screen, remember to take a look out of your own window and recognize the progress we have made and know that more is on the way.