Let’s look at some facts, instead of the scaremongering by vested interests who try to terrify us into taking some or other action.
In fact, right now is the best time of our lives. And I can prove this bold claim ...
The worst-ever year to be alive was probably in the Sixth Century, the Dark Ages, in 536 CE, when a mysterious fog began to affect Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia, a fog so dense and dark that it blocked sunlight for more than a year.
The lack of sunlight caused temperatures to fall drastically, beginning one of the coldest decades in more than 2,300 years. In China, the summer was marked by snow and crop failure. The Irish could not grow wheat for bread for the next three years.
Drought and famine spread everywhere. And then in 541, a pandemic struck Egypt and spread to other countries. This “First Bubonic Plague Pandemic”, sometimes called “the Plague of Justinian”, would continue for more than 100 years, followed by another 15 or 18 major waves of plague. Source
In 1889-1890, the Asiatic flu, sometimes called the Russian flu, killed about 1 million people out of a world population of about 1.5 billion. It was the last great pandemic of the 19th century, and is among the deadliest pandemics in history and recent research has suggested that it may have been caused by a human coronavirus. Source
From 1914, more than 37 million people died as a result of World War One, out of a population of 1.8 billion. Source
In 1918, the Spanish Flu ruined the lives of 500 million people in a world still recovering from the devastation of the First World War. Source
From 1939-1945, World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history. An estimated total of 70–85 million people perished, or about 3% of the 1940 world population. Deaths directly caused by the war are estimated at 50–56 million, with an additional estimated 19–28 million deaths from war-related disease and famine. This includes approximately six million Jews and some 5 million others, targeted for racial, political, ideological and behavioral reasons, died in the Holocaust. Source:
More recently, SARS in 2003 caused 774, with a shocking 10% mortality rate in Asia.
MERS was first identified in 2012, sometimes called “Camel flu” and caused more than 880 deaths.
In contrast, the current pandemic, Covid-19, has so far killed over 4.9 million people worldwide, with 219 million recovered. Source.
People in previous pandemics would have counted themselves fortunate to have had the communication, social structures, food deliveries, home comforts, and government support we take for granted.
In the last 150 years, the world has seen an unprecedented improvement in health. In many countries life expectancy, which measures the average age of death, doubled from around 40 years or less to more than 80 years. Life expectancy has doubled in all regions of the world. Source
Communication and information Today, you can find the answer to just about any question you have quickly and easily. But before the days of Google, social media, satelites and cell phones, you only knew from direct contact. It’s easy to take this huge gift for granted. Knowledge is power, and we have that from our phones, laptops, desktops, radio and tvs.
Torture and death sentences are few and far between Imagine living during the French Revolution, where thousands of people were put to death via guillotine? Or seeing public hanging first hand. Living with the terror of rival powers raiding and pillaging your community, or your family and friends being conscripted to go to war?
Slavery and subjugation used to be the norm Yes, there are still 41 million people subject to slavery today, but the vast majority of us have opportunities and protection by law to prevent that happening to us and our loved ones.
Travel used to be dangerous and difficult Despite the necessary limitations from lockdowns to prevent the spread of the current pandemic, we can travel far easier and quicker than ever before - when it was only by foot or, if you were lucky, by horseback, wagon, or carriage.
Our health is better than ever When old age pensions were invented, it was unusual to live old enough to benefit. Now, our lifespans have more than doubled in the last century, with more people living for longer with much better quality of life. Far fewer children die, it’s rare for babies to die and rarer still for Mothers to die in childbirth. Access to nutrition and knowledge is unsurpassed for the majority of us, although, disgracefully, more than 40 million fellow humans suffer from starvation.
So where does this leave us?
As Margaret Mead said back in the ‘60s,
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
So every action you take, or don’t take, informs and shapes your world.
Knowing the reality of our human progress lets us be inspired, optimistic, and revolutionary in how we live our lives.
World - clean air According to the World Air Quality report, 84% of countries experienced better air quality in 2020 compared to 2019, due to COVID lockdowns. The report collected data from 106 countries, with Singapore, China, and Thailand recording the greatest reductions. Source: CNN via FutureCrunch
World - malaria There's a new weapon in the war on malaria, among the oldest known and deadliest of infectious diseases. It’s estimated that this can prevent 5.4 million cases and 23,000 deaths in children younger than 5 each year. In total, malaria kills about half a million people each year, nearly all of them in sub-Saharan Africa — including 260,000 children under 5. Malaria is rare in the developed world because it is standard to vaccinate against malaria before travelling to at-risk countries. There are just 2,000 cases in the United States each year, mostly among travelers returning from countries in which the disease is endemic. Source: NYT via FutureCrunch
India - health insurance The largest public health insurance scheme in the world is providing 500 million people with free healthcare. Since its launch three years ago, over 20 million treatments worth approximately $3.5 billion have been provided for the country's poorest citizens. Source: Economic Times via FutureCrunch
Haiti - controlling cholera The largest cholera epidemic ever recorded in a single country has been successfully controlled, along with improving maternal and child healthcare. There have been no confirmed cases of cholera since January 2019, and the quality of maternal and child health has improved significantly in the last decade. Source: World Bank via FutureCrunch
US & Europe: dementia is declining and we know how to prevent it
Over the past 30 years, the incidence of dementia has declined an average of 13% every decade in people of European ancestry living in the U.S. or Europe. Researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health estimate that 15 million fewer people could develop dementia by 2040 in high-income countries.
“As the populations of the U.S. and Europe age and life expectancy increases, the prevalence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease has dramatically increased, due to the larger pool of people in the ages of highest risk,” said Lori Chibnik, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard Chan School.
“However, our analysis shows that the incidence, or rate of new cases, has been declining, translating into fewer new dementia and Alzheimer’s disease cases than what we would have expected.”
In the current study, aggregated data from seven studies included more than 49,000 individuals with up to 27 years of follow-up. Source
World: coffee linked to reduced risk of liver disease, Parkinson’s, Melanoma, even suicide
A study from the Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh found that drinking coffee led to a reduced risk of developing and dying from chronic liver disease.
Nearly half a million individuals with known coffee consumption levels were examined through data from the UK Biobank.
Compared to non-coffee drinkers, coffee drinkers had a 21% reduced risk of chronic liver disease, a 20% reduced risk of chronic or fatty liver disease, and a 49% reduced risk of death from chronic liver disease. Coffee has also been found to actually aid in preventing certain cancers like melanoma and prostate cancer, and even to combat obesity. Source
And because our human success is interdependent with environmental diversity and the health of our planet, let’s include good news about nature too:
🦏 More Indian rhinos today than 100 years ago Successful protection for rhinos is successfully helping endangered rhino species. Source: Warp News.
To raise your spirits and encourage increased action for good, here at Health Evolution we’re sharing good news every day on our social media pages