"The world is awful and falling apart."
"No it's not."
Hi, I'm Cole, I bitch about things online professionally. Well, not "professionally" in the sense that I get paid for what I do. Not yet at least (still waiting for that check to clear that my editor wrote out for the amount of "1,000,000 Unicorn Orgasms," with the signature "Totally legit, for realsies"), but the point still sticks that most of what I write about is me just whining about things, or correcting things that other people think in a smug, assholish manner, often while not wearing pants.
When you break it down, the actual rate of drug use, violent crimes, teen pregnancy, and Twittering is on a happy decline. Ok, well not Twittering.So I want to take one article, and instead of talking about petty shoplifting or TV shows about bears, to talk about what people seem to really, really go out of their way to not talk about.
And that is that the world we live in is a pretty goddamned awesome one.
And not in the sense that some rich asshole can go out and buy a water-powered jetpack if he feels like it—because technological innovations are cool and we should all be appreciative of that or some bullshit—I mean in an actual, concrete, measurable way.
The world is nowhere near as bad as everyone says it is. It literally can't be, because we would all have exploded by now otherwise. Don't believe me? Here's a whole bunch of awesome bullshit that you probably didn't even know was happening….
1. 1,000,000,000 People Have Been Lifted From Poverty Since the 90's
So let's open up with a heavy hitter.
There are some shitty parts of the world. No denying that. Fortunately, the world decided to go ahead and clean up its act, because it heard its parents where visiting and it wanted to make a good impression. I had a joke lined up for the end of that analogy, but in all honesty, it's getting really late and my roommates are arguing a lot, and ammunition for the joke cannon seems to be in short supply at this moment.
So let's turn our focus away from my comedic shortcomings and instead talk about how there's a billion fewer people living in poverty then there were twenty years ago.
This is a concrete number by the way. There's an (admittedly low) income rate defined by the UN, and if you make less than that, you are considered grossly impoverished. And less than one billion people fall under that line now than twenty years ago.
Isn't that pretty cool?
As a world we weren't expecting to even maybe hit this number until 2015, but we did back in 2010. This is partly because of the economic boom over in China shaking things up pretty strongly, and an unprecedented number of people there being lifted out of poverty at a startling rate (I'm talking hundreds of millions of people, here). But China aside, the rest of the world is doing better than literally ever. This is partly because we as humans give more of a shit, collectively, then we ever have, but also because we're better at giving a shit than ever before.
Oh, and we're not stopping, by the way. One of the goals is to pull another billion people (AKA the majority of people left in poverty) over the next twenty years.
Poverty is a beast that will probably always be around in some form, but as a general statement, we're getting pretty good at using it's dick like one of those boxing speed bags.
2. The Giving Pledge
The first and fourth richest men, as of the writing of this article, are Bill "Go Fucking Figure" Gates and Warren "I Wear More Hawaiian Shirts Then Most Goodwills Even Stock" Buffet, respectively.
So what do these two men have in common, other than being able buy people to kidnap you so that they can hunt you down on the island nations that they can afford to own?
They are both doing their damnedest to give away all of their money.
So many wonderful things could, and should, be said about the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation alone, but when one couple giving away billions of dollars to many of the world's most needed causes around the world isn't the best thing happening in an article entry, then we need to take a step back and appreciate just how awesome people can fucking be sometimes.
A couple of years back, Bill, Melinda, and Warren more or less got together and decided that the amount of money that they, and many of the world's other wealthiest people had, was just absurd. Like, Buffet could afford to "hire a team of people whose full-time job it was to crash Italian sports cars in the most magnificent way possible, 24 hours a day, and still have more money than 99% of the world" kind of absurd. And that's after he had to shill out money to get an army of lawyers to cover all of those pesky wrongful-death suits ingresult from all of the professional crash test dummies he hired in that example.
It was so absurd that they decided to do what most billionaires absolutely refuse to do under any circumstances: donate it.
And then they went a step further: they got other billionaires to join in.
Like, most of them.
Back in 2010, an estimate of the wealth pledged by the first forty billionaires was around $125 billion.
As of the writing of this article, 87 more have signed the pledge for a total of 127. One hundred and twenty seven billionaires all got together and decided to donate metric shit-tons of their own wealth because Bill and Warren asked nicely.
What have you done today?
So while this entry might make you personally feel like an under-accomplished lazy couch-tester, you can't deny the fact that this is a good thing for the world.
What is the money going towards, specifically?
Seriously, the Bill and Melinda gates foundation alone dabbles in a little bit of everything, from providing clean water to disease research. Hell, they just recently hosted a contest for the world to get together and design a better condom. I didn't even know that that was a design that needed improving on but Bill and Melinda decided to improve it anyways.
And now they have the backing of 125 more billionaires.
I'm optimistic about the future of this thing.
3. Sweden is So Good at Recycling, They've Run Out of Trash and are Importing the Refuse of Other Countries
Trash is a bit of a problem in most of the world. Or at least most people say it is. Personally, I say if someone wants to throw away the plastic rings from a six pack of beer and give Flipper the chance to practice himself some autoerotic-asphyxiation, then hey, more power to 'em.
But outside of my admittedly not very widely shared views on aquatic mammalian masturbation assistance, the whole trash thing is sort of getting out of hand.
In some places. In others, like many European countries, and despite what a lot of people seem to think, the USA, they're getting a lot better at handling their own refuse. Hell, Rwanda recently became the cleanliest country in Africa. You might not think that's much of a title to hold, but I assure you, you don't have even the slightest idea how seriously they're taking it over there.
But even with Rwanda charging people $150 just for having plastic bags (seriously), none of them can hold a single damp, flickering candle to the trash-handling juggernaut that is Sweden.
How good is Sweden at disposing of their own sheddings? Ask Norway, since they're one of the first countries to take on Sweden's trash donation program. And no, Sweden isn't donating their trash. They're taking other countries'.
Quite simply, they've set up a recycling program so good, that they, as a nation, have effectively run out of reusable waste. So they're taking other countries' waste.
And this isn't just them building houses out of old bottles, cinder blocks, and Kidz Bop CDs (or whatever the European equivalent is), it's actually their energy program that's using up most of the waste. It provides real, fairly clean energy to the people of their nation (thirteen people huddled around a fire in Stockholm, and untold numbers of reindeer) on a powerful basis. And they aren't the only ones getting in on it.
Stateside we're getting pretty good at harnessing this whole "bio-energy" thing from decaying matter, in Australia scientists have managed to turn sewage waste into usable fuel, and Germany (who like to think of themselves as the clean energy capital of Europe) are getting a little angry about Sweden stealing their thunder, and are getting their shit underway, too.
So, no. It's not a problem that'll vanish overnight, or soon, but the fact remains that we're getting a lot better at it.
4. Everything Your Parents Complain About is Wrong
This entry is more focused on America in general, but since that's where most of my readership is, I think we'll let this one slide. Besides, a lot of the generalities discussed here are improving worldwide as well.
Drug use, violent crimes, teen pregnancy, Twittering, and all of those other things that scare old people are on the rise. I mean, just turn on the news! Every day you hear about some guy on some crazy new drug eating some person and trying to kick off the apocalypse in the manner of origination we always expected. That is to say, from Florida.
Also, all you have to do is scroll through your Facebook feed and count off the unlucky bastards that are getting thrown in jail, or pregnant. And they'll probably name the kid something dumb, or with an astounding lack of foresight, like Khaleesi or some bullshit.
It sure does seem like all of that shit is getting worse, but the observant among you will notice that I put the word "seem" in italics, denoting that a certain stress should be placed on that word. It's called writing. Try and keep up.
And it only seems that way, because well, there's a couple of reasons. First off is that seriously, you should really stop giving most "regular news" channels/sites your attention, because that shit is so much worse for you then you probably realize.
News stations are exactly like any other television show: they need views. And do you know what gets views? Tragedy, terror, and trite bullshit. People usually tune in to watch negative or scary stuff for the same weird brain reasons people are much more likely to leave a review on Yelp if they had a shitty experience then if they had a really good one. The other reason why it seems like there's so much more of that shit is that because technically, there is.
Now hold on and let me explain some maths to you really quick.
There's a shitload of fucktons of people in the world (still not as overcrowded as most people think it is. Have you even done an image search for Nebraska? We got loads of room) and as such that means that they're doing more things. Just, like, in general.
But when you break it down (groups of a thousand, ten thousand, etc) the actual rate of all those things I opened this segment with are on a very happy decline (other than Twitter, which, tragically, at the writing of this article, is still a thing).
Let's look at some numbers. Because this article is now Sesame Street, apparently.
Lots of teens are getting pregnant, because teens have sex/are nearly legally retarded, but how many are getting pregnant? If you answered less than ever for the last 70 goddamned years, then you got very optimistic all of a sudden, but you're also correct. So yes, statistically, your mom and grandma (and great grandma, possibly, depending on how old you are) were all bigger floozies then you. Yeah, I used the term "floozie." They used that back in World War II times, right? Because again, that was the last time teen pregnancy has been this low. That's awesome.
But all those kids who manage to avoid sticking humans inside of each other are still getting caught up in this tidal wave of drug use and addiction, right?
Right, you read the header, you know where I'm going with this. Again, plenty of people are using drugs. Teens, too. But again, it's lower than ever. Other than weed. That's up by like, a million percent. That doesn't seem like it could be an accurate number, but really, it's probably not far off.
Fine, but if you avoid all of that, your life could still be tragically cut short by all of the violent crime that's getting thrown around these days willy nilly. I mean, the days of leaving your front door unlocked are over.
And they never should have started to begin with since once again, you guessed it, violent crime is sort of on its way out. It was never really super low, regardless of what your grandparents tell you. What happened was in the 80's, violent crime fucking exploded (partly due to, yup, crack!) and didn't really start going down till the 90's at some point. But the important thing is that it's still going down.
5. You Can Totally Buy a Water-Powered Jetpack
We live in a world where you can buy a water-powered jetpack, and nothing anyone says (even me, at the start of this article) can make that anything less than just the neatest damned thing in the whole wide world.
Watch this video:
That had nothing to do with water powered jetpacks. I'm sorry I abused your trust like that.
Watch this video:
If you didn't picture yourself riding the top of that thing, screaming "Weeeeeee!!!" as loud as you can, then you're dead inside, and you can stop reading my article right the hell now. The internet door is on your left.
For the rest of you who still have some sort of child-like whimsy dwelling inside of you, wasn't that thing awesome?!?!? I know, right?
So, price tag. Yeah, unless you're one of the billionaires who signed The Giving Pledge up there, there's a pretty solid chance that you don't have the disposable income needed to purchase one of these dream-making machines.
But again, it's the point of the damned thing. We live in a world where some scientists got together and decided to spend a weekend building a water-powered jetpack and they decided to share it with all of us! That is just the nicest thing ever.
The world is pretty neat.
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