First, I received some good news over the weekend. My short Sci Fi story, "Expedition of the Arcturus" will be published on 3/12/2013 on PerihelionSF.com. It couldn't be more timely considering our concern over meteorites and asteroids recently. And if I might make the bold suggestion, drop by their web site any time. It's a great "hard" Science Fiction magazine.
Now for the news....
We have gotten hammered with negative news for years now. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of it. Sick and tired of it.
Isn't there anything going well anymore? Anywhere?
Bill Gates of Microsoft fame, has released his Annual Letter to the world and it contains some insight as to how things are really going overall, and world wide. And nationwide here at home, because we do have some very good things going on right here. We just haven't noticed them because of the economic situation and political gridlock.
You should notice that political gridlock tends to occur during times of there being confusion about what to do in order to fix problems. The lack of ability to affect positive changes has come from, in my opinion, poor education of the leaders of our constituents and their polarized political agendas (basically, the GOP is stuck in their right wing, excessively conservative rhetoric).
Bill Gates in his letter points out that the Millennium Development, which was agreed to by all countries and leading development institutions back in 2000, have helped the world make substantial progress to improve the lives of its poorest people in these areas:
- Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- A global partnership for development
He has pointed out a few things we do need to do. One I'd like to mention here, is about teachers.
Teachers are a group that have taken a lot of flak and undeservedly so. They are underpaid and overworked. As Mr. Gates pointed out recently, they have not been given the same tools business has given to its employees. Rather than testing the teachers, why not give them feedback? Rather than berate and attempt to remove those who are there (and if they are truly incompetent, they should be removed, but they should never have been there to begin with), they need access to how to deal with problems they are having. They need our support, not our recriminations. They need information, not just a pink slip.
How do those teachers who are successfulat dealing with trouble students deal with the situation. Or in teaching a difficult or complex subject, how do the successfulteachers, teach it? Let's share that. Let's stand up and take responsibility for getting teachers the tools and methods they need to affect positive change in their environment, because their environment is particularly important to us as parents, as a nation. And as a world.
Another measurement for progress worldwide, is about children under age five dying. They are dying now less than before, the numbers are dropping. In 1960 twenty million children under age five were dying each year. Within the next few years, that will be down to three million.
Polio is down to just over a couple of hundred cases worldwide and may soon be eradicated.
Mr. Gates also pointed out things like the ability to have information at the touch of your fingers. Being able to sit with your child in your home and explore the world online. Think about that for a moment. Appreciate some of the things you now take for granted. The technologies and devices we have that make our lives easier every day have changed how we do business, how we live and how we interact with one another. Has technology closed us off from one another, or brought us closer?
Yes, I do see people I know less now a days, and we live further apart than when I was younger and I mostly knew people within a close physical distance from me. But technology has brought us closer together, in some ways removing that distance. I know more now about what my kids, family, friends, and new long distance friends and acquaintancesare doing, than I ever knew in the past before these technologies.
The wealth we as Americans experience and live with every day, as opposed to those around the world who are starving or dying daily, can be invisible to us. Yet, even those people's lives around the world are getting better. They are starving and dying less. Yes, there is still much to do, but we are making pathways to success.
For those who think the world is a horrible place, Mr. Gates has pointed out that things are getting better all the time, and are markedly better than only a few years ago.
To support his contentions, last year the Dalai Lama, as another world traveler who should know, has been saying this same things. That violence worldwide is actually down from years ago, even though it doesn't look to us that way in media and news. Which points out that we need to carefully watch where we get our news and information from, because media has become oriented through entertainment more than journalism.
The bottom dollar has become more important than the accurate, neutral delivery of real news. News departments should not be attached to a profit margin. It used to be that other departments covered that for them. That is one change that has certainly denigrated our news and information. But believe it or not, the new injection of Al Jazeera buying Current TV, which Al Gore just sold to them, might be just the sort of catalyst we need. Regardless of where they come from, I have to say I would trust news from them over Fox News (after their recent, horrible showing, in their consistent inaccuracies, during our last Presidential election), any day of the week.
Last year my own daughter returned from backpacking all over Europe, going to Eastern Europe to places I was afraid for her to go. Yet she returned safely and said those scary places were where she met some of the nicest people she came in contact with on her travels, and she felt the safest there. The most dangerous place she went to, turned out to be Athens, Greece during their riots with mobs and cars on fire and angry people hurting and getting hurt.
So don't feel too depressed about "Today" because apparently, beyond our vision, out of our line of sight, just outside of our available information, and in many cases even right in front of us, in our own homes, there really are good things happening. The world is having a difficult time, but not in every area.
Overall it would seem that efforts really are paying off and turning the planet into a better world. In many cases, without our even recognizing it.