You can always find bad news if you look for it.With the internet and social media we learn about every bad thing that happens throughout the entire world almost instantly. However the good news doesn't get shared so much. For instance how many of you are aware of the vast amount of work being done worldwide to restore eroded damaged landscapes (see below). How many people share them? Hardly anyone.
While working on my posts for the Debunking Doomsday blog, I come across a lot of good news that never gets into the mainstream media. Sharing some of them may help those of you who get depressed and scared by the journalist exaggerations and pessimism.
How many people know that life expectancy worldwide is increasing, hunger decreasing, access to drinking water and clean water for sanitation increasing poverty decreasing, literacy increasing, access to internet increasing, child mortality decreasing and all those things?
Out of 100 people I doubt if even 10 would know that
This is another article I'm writing to support people we help in the Facebook Doomsday Debunked group, that find us because they get scared, sometimes to the point of feeling suicidal about it, by such stories.
Do share this with your friends if you find it useful, as they may be panicking too.
- Close to universal literacy in many countries, few with less than half unable to read and write
- Women now have the vote everywhere that men do - Saudi Arabia held out until 2017
- Life expectancy at birth gone up hugely (including a major reduction in mortality for young children).
- Huge reductions in large scale famine
- Child mortality (before age 5) way down
- The number of hungry people is down (though with some setbacks due to conflict and global warming effects)
- Childhood deaths from the five most lethal infectious diseases worldwide way down:
- Renewables growing rapidly - in many places not needing incentives any more, it’s less cost and better return to do a new renewables plant, and that trend is going to continue.
- Access to an improved water source improving:
- Much fewer die of natural disasters (better warning and better prepared e.g. improved building standards)
- Population leveling off due to prosperity rather than scarcity, already reached close to peak child and our population grows because we are living longer
- Death rate from wars way down:
- Large parts of the world are in nuclear weapon free zones, including nearly all the southern hemisphere:
- Greatly reduced tensions in North / South Korea.
- Internet access increased hugely in less than 20 years
- Our world is greening due to a CO2 fertilization effect, only a small part of the world, less than 4%, show a browning effect. Many areas have an increase in leaf area of more than 50%.
- Restoration of degraded land worldwide (many videos below)
- Many measures that countries are taking to help support pollination of their crops.
- Saved the ozone layer which is continuing to heal every year (the recent news about CFC -11 in China is no more than a short term glitch, the layer is still healing, just a bit more slowly until they catch the perpetrators, see China confirmed as source of rise in CFCs).
- Saved giant panda, and humpback whale (and many other species)
- Established seed vaults for our seed crops and many of our seeds worldwide.
- Huge progress in climate change - lots that needs to be done but remarkable what we have done in just two years
- Found a solution for biodiversity loss and it is practical and governments have shown initial interest by approving the summary for policy makers
- Have large numbers of huge telescopes out looking for asteroids every day, found all the 10 km ones and just about all 1 km ones and advance warning enough time to evacuate a city of 50% of the smallest ones.
(To put it in perspective if the Egyptians had set up an early warning system we’d still be waiting for the first city-killer impact0
You can find many more - try looking out for your own good news stories, as you come across them. They are rare in the news, but not because they are rare in real life. It is because people want to buy and read the bad news rather than the good news, find it more dramatic and exciting.
So you can offset that a bit by looking out for whatever stories you find cool, interesting, encouraging or good news. And then take a note of them for the future to remind yourself that good things do happen, all the time. Good things in your personal life too (instead of just the bad things)
Some of the good things that are happening
Close to universal literacy in many countries
There are few countries where less than half the population are unable to read and write.
Women now have the vote everywhere that men do
- Saudi Arabia held out until 2017
Note - there are a fair few places where there is no vote - e.g. absolute monarchies like the Sultan of Oman - and places where there is a vote but it is symbolic e.g. in North Korea where there is only one candidate and it is compulsory for everyone to vote so you get close to 100% turnout all voting for the same candidate, and places without a government temporarily such as Northern Ireland as of writing this. See comment
But this is about gender equality and wherever men can vote, women can also. See comment.
Life expectancy at birth gone up hugely
(including a major reduction in mortality for young children).
Back in 1800 the average world life expectancy was 30, now it is over 70!
Twice as long – life expectancy around the world
Huge reductions in large scale famine and increases in food security
The FAO has an Early Warning Early Action initiative to help reduce the impact of disasters at an early stage before they escalate into an emergency. They publish their reports quarterly, looking into the world regions in detail with recommendations for specific countries at risk.
The Early Warning Early Action initiative has been developed with the understanding that disaster losses and emergency response costs can be drastically reduced by using early warning analysis to act before a crisis escalates into an emergency. Early actions strengthen the resilience of at-risk populations, mitigate the impact of disasters and help communities, governments and national and international humanitarian agencies to respond more effectively and efficiently.
This for instance is their global risk analysis for April - June 2019. The report includes specific recomendations for each of the at risk regions highlighted in red or pink in this map.
As an example, the FAO forecasted the 2005–6 Niger food famine, due to locusts
We have an emergency food fund now of $1 billion a year - originally it was $50 million, then increased to $500 million and this was doubled in December 2016 in the UN resolution A/RES/71/127
Since its inception, 126 UN Member States and observers, as well as regional Governments, corporate donors, foundations and individuals, made it possible for humanitarian partners to deliver over $5 billion in life-saving assistance in over 100 countries and territories. Many recipient countries also become a donor to CERF and contribute, making CERF a fund for all, by all”
Who We Are | CERF
And undernourishment is down from nearly 35% in 1970 to 13% in 2017 in developing countries.
For all cereals the stock to use ratio is 30%. I.e. if we had a world shortfall of 30% in one year, we could supply it with left over cereals from previous years. Also in sugar (50% stock to use ratio)
- FAO Cereal Supply and Demand Brief and more extensive summary for two year period ending 2018
- USDA-Office of the Chief Economist - World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates
Of course they don't keep vast stocks of meat in the same way but the very worst case of a shortfall of 10% is that you don't eat quite as much meat as usual, you are not going to starve as we are already resilient to a shortfall in cereals.
Child mortality (before age 5) way down
The number of hungry people is down
(though with some setbacks due to conflict and global warming effects)
Childhood deaths from the five most lethal infectious diseases worldwide way down:
Renewables growing rapidly
- in many places not needing incentives any more, it’s less cost and better return to do a new renewables plant, and that trend is going to continue.
If you got discouraged by the recent Australia election result, don’t be. Renewables are soaring in Australia which has lots of renewable possibilities, virtually all of its new power stations have been renewables, and it's now competitive to build a renewables power station even without subsidies and without carbon capture and storage for coal.
- Australia will still be strong in renewables after ‘losing’ the climate vote - and each government is only for three years
It also covers various other myths about renewables
- Wind farms and solar farms need to be sited carefully to protect wild birds, bats and insects - but biggest risk by far is … the domestic cat! Responsible for 63 extinctions, wind farms for 0 extinctions
Access to an improved water source improving:
Much fewer die of natural disasters
(better warning and better prepared e.g. improved building standards)
Population leveling off due to prosperity rather than scarcity
Already reached close to peak child and our population grows because we are living longer
Reduced tendency for the “great powers” to fight each other.
Death rate from wars way down:
Number of deaths per 100,000 population per year from State-based battles.
So - world wars 1 and 2 really stand out of course, the dashed line here shows the number of deaths per 100,000 per year.
Then - if we look at the right hand half of that graph, then it is still decreasing since 1946:
There are more battles but the battles are smaller with fewer killed per battle. It’s partly because the world has split up into more and smaller countries since WW2
Large parts of the world are in nuclear weapon free zones
This includes nearly all the southern hemisphere:
Map by the United Office of Disarmament Affairs, full resolution and more details here.
That’s no small achievement.
Greatly reduced tensions in North / South Korea.
I know they haven’t achieved nuclear disarmament yet, but they are still talking and are not back to the threats before the Kim - Trump summit. Doesn’t seem likely they will either. And greatly improved relations between North and South Korea. What has the Kim - Trump summit achieved?
Internet access increased hugely in less than 20 years
Our world is greening due to a CO2 fertilization effect
Only a small part of the world, less than 4%, show a browning effect. Many areas have an increase in leaf area of more than 50%. Since the 1980s, enough new leaves have sprouted to cover twice the area of mainland United States
In another study, then from the early 2000s, the leaf area has increased by 5%, an area equivalent to all of the Amazon rainforests. One-third of Earth’s vegetated lands are greening, while 5 percent are growing browner. The study was published on February 11, 2019
This shows the greening or browning from 2000 to 2017 - the change not the overall greenness. China and India stand out and account for a third of the greening, although they have only 9% of the area of vegetation in the world.
42% of China’s greening contribution is from it’s forest conservation and expansion program, much of the rest (32%) from intensive cultivation of food crops.
For India, it’s the other way around, 82% of the change is from the intensive cultivation of food, with an increase of a remarkable 35 to 40% since 2000, alone, mainly through multiple cropping where a field is replanted to produce more harvests several times a year.
The world as a whole is greening by 2.3 % per decade, but China is greening by over 10% per decade and India by over 6%
See also my
Restoration of degraded land worldwide
As an example, this project in China greened the Löss Plateau, which is the size of Belgium - you might think this is image manipulation, but no, this is a real project:
Loss Plateau in September 1995
It is amazing what they did in China's Loess province,. This documentary, “Hope in a Changing Climate” - by the soil scientist John D. Liu (2009) covers the project right from the start when it was almost a desert landscape. The second half of the video covers how similar projects have transformed regions in Ethiopia and Rwanda.
For a cost of around half a billion dollars, most of this is from Restoring China's Loess Plateau
- More than 2.5 million people were lifted out of poverty, and incomes doubled, employment increased from 70 to 87%.
- Output per capita increased from 0.366 metric tons to 0.591 metric tons per year
- Food security ensured, before the project frequent droughts required occasional government food aid. Now it has changed from a narrow range of food and low-value grain to high value products.
- Ecological balance restored in a vast area considered to be beyond help by many.
- Sedimentation of waterways dramatically reduced. Soil erosion was reduced from 6579.55 tons per square kilometer per year to 1986.66 tons.
- By 2000 they had conserved 177,000 square kilometers of eroded land with perennial vegetation increased from 17 to 34 percent.
This is another such project in Kenya
This is about several similar projects in the Peruvian coastal zone, which is arid but has moist air comes in from the Pacific. Four new agricultural projects there are growing pomegranates, sweet potatoes, asparagus and cut flowers.
This is a similar project in Jordan: Celebrating 10-Years at the Greening the Desert Project, Jordan. - The Permaculture Research Institute
This is one in the Los Monegros Desert, Zaragoze Spain
This is another project in Mexico
And a later video about John di Liu which has some material from his earlier video and some new material for instance about another project in Jordan and also returning to the projects in China and Ethiopia.
This is another vjdeo about reversing desertification in Iran
For an example wastewater project see this project in Morocco From wastewater to oasis: Greening the desert
This is another in Egypt
As for the salt water greenhouses, this is an Australian desert project. The sea water is used to make water through the sunlight in the desert, and cool down the greenhouses.
These ideas could be used to reverse desertification in the Sahara desert and other deserts. In this panel, hot dry dusty air from the desert blows through a honeycomb wall soaked in sea water. The air becomes humid, blows across the growing area and then some of it condenses on a second panel. The moist air then blows out of the greenhouse leading to benefits to the desert outside as well, plants may grow outside downwind of the greenhouse.
Diagrams by Raffa be from wikipedia (File:SG phase II.jpg)
So, it not only lets you grow crops in the greenhouses - it can also help make the surrounding areas more habitable, so you’d get trees and crops growing in an area around the greenhouses as well.
All this vegetation has grown spontaneously around the Tenerife seawater greenhouse due to the moist air, just two years after it was installed:
This is what it was like before:
So, this doesn’t extract anything from desert aquifers, rather, it adds to them.
Sundrop farms have a large area set out for greenhouses like this now, in the middle of a desert, so this is taking off in a big way in Australia. Early days yet though. More about it here.
This is a PBS News story about work to green deserts in Qatar peninsula in the Persian gulf, which covers the similar Sahara forest project
The Sahara desert was humid and covered in grassland and lakes as recently as 5000 years ago, the African humid period. The German explorer Heinrich Barth was the first to discover these myserious paintings in the mid 1800s (see Green Sahara: African Humid Periods Paced by Earth's Orbital Changes).
Right in the middle of the Sahara desert, a few thousand years ago, ancient African people did rock carvings and paintings of abundant elephants, giraffes, aurochs (primitive cattle), hippos and antelopes pursued by hunters. The reason is that these creatures did roam the Sahara as recently as 5000 years ago.
There is similar rock art in the Cave of Swimmers in Egypt.
The Saharan green period started about 14,500 years ago and it’s a 25,772 year cycle. If we wait 11,500 years the Sahara may become green again naturally, giving us an extra area for agriculture more than two and a half times the area of India.
Meanwhile, if we can find a way to bring more water to the Sahara desert, perhaps with the saltwater greenhouses, more efficient use of irrigation or other methods, there is lots of potentially fertile soil there. Seen in this way, most deserts are really just potential future farmland without the water.
This is one of the sections from my
Saving insect diversity
Many measures that countries are taking to help support pollination of their crops. For instance Malaysia’s “stingless bees” project.
These are a different species from honey bees that are adapted to tropical and subtropical species and are better able to pollinate their crops than traditional honey bees. And they do also produce honey. Stingless Bees - Facts, Information&Pictures
Germany has started an Action Programme for Insect Protection which is here (you can use google translate to see it in English): Insektenschutz
Saved giant panda, and humpback whale (and many other species)
Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) previously listed as Endangered is now down-listed to Vulnerable (Good news for Giant Panda) and the humpback whale from vulnerable to least concern in 2008. (IUCN Red List) and many others.
Humpback whale on road to recovery, reveals IUCN Red List - our grandchildren will still have a world with the magnificent humpback whale, giant panda and other species we saved from extinction.
Seed vault in Svalbard
If the power failed it would go up to - 8 or - 7 C after a few years, but even at that temperature most of the seeds would be viable for 20 to 30 years so you have lots of time to decide what to do if power doesn’t get restored. So it is a safe place for the world’s seeds.There are seeds there to restore the world’s agriculture even if there were no other seeds left in the entire world. Not just the main crops but numerous wild varieties for each one. Our seed crops are not going to go extinct.https://youtu.be/QHw4AxJX5Wo
The Millennium Seed Bank is another major seed bank, largest seed bank in the world, with an aim to have 25% of the world's seeds by 2020. It already has all the UK's seeds apart from a few either too rare to collect the seeds, or that have seeds that can't be preserved.
Working together worldwide on big projects - climate change
We are making huge progress on climate change. For instance jScotland committed to zero emissions by 2045, and the UK to zero emissions by 2050 which makes it the first G7 country to become 1.5 C compatibe.
For decades there were many people concerned but not much got done despite many tries at it.
Since 2016 suddenly lots of people are doing loads of things, and for the first time we have real hard commitments and wind turbines everywhere and masses of solar farms and China building the largest solar farms in the world - it is all beyond incredible even - if you'd asked me in 2015 I would never have expected this, but instead of saying "Wow" everyone is saying "Look we aren't doing anything".
But back in 2015 hardly anyone was saying "look we aren't doing anything". It is all back to front.
And it is not too late at all. We still have a decade to get on track to knock another 1.5 C off that 3 C for the easiest path to 1.5 C, having already knocked 1 C off 4 C in just two years. That is why I wrote this
- Positive side of climate change facts, after two years of action, heading for 3°C with 1.5°C well within reach
- No Scientific Cliff Edge Of 12 Years To Save Planet (or 18 Months) - Can IPCC Challenge 'Deadlines Make Headlines' Misreporting?
Worldwide we are collaborating together, sharing technology and solutions and ideas, for instance to adapt to rising sea levels
- Rising Seas - Ingenious Ways Netherlands, Florida And Bangladesh Can Adapt - Barriers And Sponges - And Floating Gardens
Found a solution to biodiversity loss
A UN study has analysed the reasons we continue to lose species to extinction, and found a solution Not only that, they found a solution that is practical, feasible, makes economic sense, and has preliminary government interest too, to the extent that over 100 governments were happy to sign off on their conclusions as a “summary for policy makers”.
They did the most rigorous analysis ever done of such a situation involving experts in social sciences and economics as well as the natural sciences. From their analysis it has become clear, not only why we are losing so many species, not only how to fix it, but that we all benefit too, individuals, businesses, governments.
If we want it, this is a future world we can choose for ourselves by the actions we do right now. What’s more, we have time to act too.
- Let’s save a million species, and make biodiversity great again - UN report says we know how do it
- Yes our generation’s children are headed for a world with nature and wonder in it - and their children too
Many telescopes looking for asteroids and comets to protect us from impacts
We have built many HUGE telescopes that are out looking for asteroids and comets every single night. They have already discovered all the ones of 10 km or larger that come close to Earth, large enough to have seriously bad effects on our global climate, and none of those can hit for thousands of years.
They have found 95% of those of 1 km or large enough, large enough to have some global effects, and none of those have any chance until 2880 (minute chance from 1950 DA), one other in the list expected to be removed as soon as it is next spotted (2010 GD37).
The last time anything this big hit us was before the evolution of Neanderthals, 700,000 years ago (Neanderthals go back to 400,000 years ago)
- Asteriod 2010 GD37 (1.26 km) is NOT EXPECTED TO HIT EARTH in December 2019 - and NO, NASA did not issue an impact warning!
Highly unlikely that there are any left to be found with only one with a possible impact in 2880 out of 95%. If there are any left, then most likely decades to millennia of warning, and with warning, we know how to deflect them.
We can spot half of even the smaller 20 meter ones with plenty of warning to evacuate a city:
And NASA have never issued any asteroid warning.
If they ever do, this is by far the most likely warning:
- Did you know, NASA have NEVER issued any ASTEROID ALERT - most likely future warning: Tiny Asteroid to Splosh Harmlessly in Pacific Ocean]
- Why you don’t need to be scared of asteroids - far less scary than lightning
- Robert Walker's answer to How vulnerable are we to a catastrophic asteroid impact?
- Are there people whose job is to watch for them?
Seven tips for dealing with doomsday fears
If you are scared: Seven tips for dealing with doomsday fears which also talks about health professionals and how they can help.
If in the middle of a panic attack, see
- Breathe in and out slowly and deeply to calm a panic attack by Robert Walker on Debunking Doomsday
- Tips from CBT - might help some of you to deal with doomsday anxieties
- STOPP skill
Useful links to bookmark
- Search Doomsday Debunked (Facebook)
- Search Debunking Doomsday
- List of debunks
- Search Quora for articles by 'robert walker' (insert whoever you want to search for)
- Search Sites rated Very High for Factual
- Search Doomsday Debunked Wiki
Tip, bookmark those links to search for debunks more easily. Here is a screenshot of my bookmarks
Facebook support group
Facebook group Doomsday Debunked has been set up to help anyone who is scared by these fake doomsdays.
If you need help
Do message me on Quora or PM me on Facebook if you need help.
There are many others in the group who are available to support scared people via PM and who can also debunk fake Doomsday “news” for you if you get scared of a story and are not sure if it is true. See our debunkers list
If you are suicidal don’t forget there’s always help a phone call away with the List of suicide crisis lines - Wikipedia
- To Google, Apple and Facebook - please stop promoting fake red top tabloid news
- To Journalists: Debunk Rather than Dramatize "Doomsday" Stories - Vulnerable Get Suicidal
- To YouTube : Halt Ads on Doomsday Videos