This was a Facebook post I published from June 28th 2016 – over 2 years ago at the time of publishing this post. What I find incredible is that it could have been published today.
Despite the increased use of media, video and podcasts, we’re still in the mindset that the world is in a terrible state. We could easily start to share more positive news, but the media threads run the same. Anyway – this is a post in response to the new book Factfulness by the late Hans Rosling. Available here: https://www.gapminder.org/factfulness-book/
There’s an awful lot of negativity in our environments and shown to us in our day to day lives. Social media videos, the news, the papers and wider media seems to show a slow but measurable and inevitable decline in our society. Both globally and locally.
The negative news and influence isn’t coming from where you think it is though. More and more I see statuses, posts and videos on how awful and messed up our world is.
Dying children, natural disasters, crime, racism, terrorism and human rights abuse litter our feeds and outlets so it’s understandable that we would assume that the world is going to hell in a handbasket.
But the only real negativity is that which is spread by ourselves across our social channels. The truth is that we live in the single most peaceful time in human history https://www.wsj.com/…/SB100014240531119041067045765832035894…
Sure, The Independent reports that there are only 11 countries that AREN’T in conflict at the moment. But they measure that by showing if a country has had at least 25 battle related deaths a year. https://www.independent.co.uk/…/world-peace-these-are-the-on…
With those statistics, there are cities across the globe that have higher conflict rates than entire countries.
In fact, fewer people die from wars or violent crime now, then ever before. Violent deaths have been in decline for hundreds of years and violent crime itself is at its lowest point since the 1970’s https://time.com/3577026/crime-rates-drop-1970s/
“…in 14th century England, some cities had a homicide rate as high as 110 per 100,000 citizens. London’s homicide rate in 2012 was just under 1 per 100,000” https://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm…
But FEWER people are dying every year and that’s just not being reported.
Even including recent shootings in the US, from 1972 to today, terrorist motivated deaths account for 3160 deaths https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/at…/american-attacks.aspx
Appalling by any standards, but that’s fewer than 72 deaths a year.
Diabetes killed 76488 people in the USA in 2014 https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.html
Natural disasters are something that the media loves to share. Low income, third world countries struck by forces of nature make great people stories. The number of natural disasters is pretty static, roughly 380 a year https://thewatchers.adorraeli.com/…/the-statistics-of-natur…/
However, the number of deaths? Since the 1900’s (where approximately 500 000 people a year died from natural disasters) the number of deaths from natural disasters has dropped to around 20 000 https://youtu.be/Sm5xF-UYgdg?t=133 and https://thewatchers.adorraeli.com/…/the-statistics-of-natur…/
What does that mean? It means that we’re more capable, willing and reactive to natural disasters. We plan better and protect more people now than ever before.
People, governments and countries are held accountable to protect the society and we do it.
As users of social and media, we are perpetuating the very news and events that depress us. Studies show that news is easy to digest and similar to sugar, we become addicted to it – but it makes us depressed https://www.theguardian.com/…/apr/12/news-is-bad-rolf-dobelli
Misery loves company and we’re only sharing what makes us miserable. But then we moan that the world is full of bad people.
Nigeria, the largest country in Africa has recently elected Muhammadu Buhari in a democratic election, beating out Goodluck Jonathan who hadn’t been elected previously.
But the news focuses on Boku Haran and the deaths caused by their “terrorist operations”. The truth is that most statistics can’t agree on what constitutes a terrorist related death, violent crime or other deaths – so they’re all lumped in with terror related deaths.
Nigeria’s death rate has been falling since 1960. Infant mortality – down. Death by war – down. https://knoema.com/atlas/Nigeria/Death-rate
This is more of a rant than I was expecting, but there are so many positive and incredible stories to share. We all think that we don’t trust the media and “they’ll write any headline to sell newspapers”, but then we share what we are shown and treat it as gospel.
We can go out an find stories of a man cured of HIV https://www.iflscience.com/…/scientists-closer-understandin…/ or how maternal and neo-natal tetnus has been eradicated in India https://www.searo.who.int/…/maternal-and-neonatal-tetanu…/en/
Anyone who has watched “Hans Rosling: Don’t use news media to understand the world” will see I’m taking his content, but it remains that we can either choose to discover stories that are positive and show progress.
Or we can buy exactly what we hate about corporate and large media stories, perpetuating misleading facts.
Crime covers roughly 30% of media, from newspapers to news shows https://www.publiceye.org/defendingjust…/…/beckett_media.html
While crime dropped, media coverage of violent crimes climbed over 400% to continue drawing audiences.
Absolutely I understand that terrible things happen. There are wars, there are acts of evil. But there are also people doing great things out there and we have statistical PROOF that things do get better and there are people working to make life better.
We have a choice of what we consume, so why do we share cancerous and depressing events before researching?
Rather, we should seek out exciting, progressive and positive stories.
Cheers for reading.