Since 1800 global child mortality – defined as the number of children dying before the age of 5 – dropped 10-fold from 43% down to 4.3%!! To put this in more concrete and recent numbers, the number of children dying before the age of 5 in 1990 was 7.6 million, while in 2013 it had gown down to 3.7 million!!
Why does not everybody on this planet know about this??? This is truly a shame and in my opinion the media is, to a large extent, to blame for this. Their constant focus on single events – as Max Roser of OurWorldInData.org puts it – completely distorts reality because events are most often negative. It takes only moments to destroy something but many days, weeks or years to build or accomplish something! Another factor is selective memory, where humans often tend to forget about the negative and overestimate the positive aspects of past events. That’s why people often have such a romanticised view of the past ( you know the sentence “back in my days everything was better….blah blah blah🙄).
Lastly, it is a fact that we humans are conditioned by evolution to focus more on avoiding bad things than striving or looking for good things. We evolved that way to keep ourselves safe from predators, unfortunately, this mechanism is still at work today and the media makes great use of it by giving us what we want. That’s why negative news sells better than positive, unless it’s something really amazing. Unfortunately statistics don’t look very sexy, although the late and amazing world renowned statistician Hans Rosling proved that statistics can indeed be very appealing.
I think the only way to counter this issue of negative bias to how the world is evolving is by starting with education. From the very first day in school, children should be confronted with statistics, numbers and the workings of human’s psychology, not only with regards to demographics, but also, and maybe even more importantly, interpersonal and intercultural understanding, as well as emotional intelligence.
Apart from education- and that’s where this blog and similar initiatives come into play – I think it is absolutely imperative to create a counter balance to negative reporting by flooding all modes of communication with so much relevant good news that it comes out of everyones ears thereby making them almost impervious to fake news and fear mongering!💪
Featured image courtesy of btchurch via Pixabay.com