While making the 6.5 hour trek back along the highway from Melbourne to Canberra yesterday I put on a episode created by 'The Young IPA Podcast.' On this particular episode they hosted Matt Ridley, author of The Rationale Optimist. Matt recently posted an article in British political magazine 'The Spectator' regarding the success we have experienced throughout the 2010's and as the interview continued on it got me thinking.
The 21st century is all I've ever known so it's impossible for me to compare it to the 20th century as I simply cannot comment on what I haven't experienced. But what I can comment on is the attitude I have noticed my fellow peers have towards societies growth in this decade and contrast that to the facts of the matter presented in Ridley's article. The differences are startling.
The 2010's were an exceptional decade. In terms of growth as a society we have made vast improvements from where we were in the late 20th century, and even from where we were a mere fifteen years ago.
My generation has been born into a time of prosperous growth and yet we are continue to cry out in anguish that we are being let down by those in power. That our complete ineptitude as a society is causing the planet to die and we are watching idly by, allowing mother earth to suffer.
We sat by and let someone as supposedly vile as Donald Trump get elected, we went to war in Syria and witnessed the leaders of our nation's continue to deny Climate Change and hold off on climate action.
How could we possibly have witnessed all these things and still come out of this decade as successful as we are?
I asked myself the same question.
All I've been hearing across twitter, Facebook, the internet and through word of mouth of people similar in age to me is that the older 'boomer' generation has let the world plummet into a pile of crap and we are powerless to stop it. We wish we could, but alas, ignorant people in power just won't listen to our desperate plea's for change.
We refuse to believe that those older than us just might know a little more about how a country should be run beyond high emotions of those trying to defend the planet and such. It can't be true!
But it can.
Statistics have shown that the 2010's have been wildly successful and I want you all to hear it, from one Generation Z to another. It's all going to be OK, and here's why:
1. We use 65% less land to produce food than 50 years ago
The argument that our increasing global population is tipping us towards an uncertain need for more food and therefore more land usage to respond to this increase is a lie. The increase in productivity of farming and continual increase in inventions to counter the need for more land has lead us to decrease the amount of land we have used despite our growing population.
This means that more forests are remaining standing compared with that in the 70s. This in turn means an increase in numbers of wild animals across the globe such as wolves and even tigers as their numbers are very slowly beginning to climb.
In fact, since 2005 the global population of polar bears has increased by 30%, despite a reduction of sea ice.
2. Global poverty has decreased by a further 6%
In 1990, with a population of 5.2 billion, 36% of people were living in poverty. That's 1.8 billion people. In 2010, with a population of 6.9 billion, 16% of people were living in poverty, roughly equating to 1.1 billion people. In 2015, the UN noted that global poverty was at 10%, with 7.3 billion people that's a total of around 730 million people who live on less than $1.90 a day.
Despite an increase in more than 2 billion people since 1990 we have more than halved the number of people living in poverty, and that is a statistic to be proud of. The UN is currently working towards a goal of 3% by 2030.
3. Child mortality rates are at the lowest they have ever been
Child mortality is one of the hardest tragedies that we continue to face as a society. But it is continues to be rarely discussed, despite its enormous affects. In 1990 child mortality was at a staggering rate of 12.6 million deaths, in 2017 that number is at 5.4 million. That is a reduction by half and is an incredible statistic to celebrate. Again the UN has aimed to reduce child mortality from 3.9% where it currently sits to 2.5% by 2030.
This is not an unattainable goal but will still be difficult to reach. However, when considering the incredible changes we have made in the past 10 years, it makes the likeliness all the more plausible.
4. Increasing technological advances are leading towards less consuming of resources
When you consider where technology was sitting in the 70s the advances we have made are astounding. The smartphone alone allows us levels of control in the palm of our hand that were unprecedented within the best computers 50 years ago.
This continual reduction in size of laptops, smartphones and other devices is an ode to the realisation that the smaller the product is, the less resources are required to produce it.
In terms of our global improvement as a society we are on track to moving towards the best century in human existence. As our global economy continues to thrive, our quality of life increases, our life expectancy increases and our impact on the environment actually decreases.
Despite the continual argument that the world is getting worse we are actually only proving that things are getting better.
I'm excited for the next decade and I stand by Matt Ridley's predictions.
By the end of the next decade we will see less poverty, lower child mortality, less use of resources per person and an increase in nature reserves and numbers of wild animals.
For once in your life I beg Generation Z to look at the facts of the matter; things are good, and if you spent less time protesting by sticking your heads in the sand, you might be able to see it.