Are Things as Bad as We Think? How News, Culture and Social Media Disproportionately Show Negativity

It is hard to think of the world as a happy and improved place because many news outlets cover unfavorable circumstances. With that being said, a major problem is figuring out where to find good news.

Social influences often lead people to believe the world is worse than it is. Here in America, people are constantly reminded of the rapid effects of climate change, looming fear of terrorism and nuclear weapons, the opioid epidemic, controversial immigration decisions and questionable government administrations. It is easy to get caught up in the negativity, however, it doesn't mean it is an excuse. According to Forbes, nine out of 10 people do not think that the world is getting better.

But that isn't entirely true. 

First of all, medical expertise and awareness regarding things like mental health have improved a lot, and are continuously trying to get even better every day. Medical treatments have led to the control of countless infectious diseases since 1990. Treatments have saved the lives of more than 100 million children alone. To be clear, children's wellbeing and overall health have improved all over the world—not just in developed countries. In fact, all countries have a lower infant or child mortality rate compared to what those numbers were in 1950. Since more children are surviving to adulthood, that means lifespans are lengthening. Here in the United States, the average person retires when they are 62; in 1919 the average lifespan of a human was only 56.

Additionally, global health has also improved in times of urgency. The number of deaths from natural disasters is 25 percent of what it was 100 years ago. This is comforting to keep in mind because although great things are happening, climate change is still threatening weather patterns around the world.

These improvements around the world can be boiled down to the fact that poverty is on a steady decline. More specifically in the past 20 years not only has poverty been diminishing but development has transpired faster than any other point in history. As stated by "A Wealth of Common Sense" the number of people in extreme poverty has fallen by an average of 137,000 people every day for the past two decades—that is miraculous! This means more people are gaining access to food, clean water, electricity, healthcare, education– the list goes on.

What everyone should be concerned about is the state of the world’s oceans, that's no over-exaggeration, and it is safe to say that they are not exactly in pristine condition due to pollution. Luckily over the next 10 years, a worldwide ocean clean-up will be tackling the Pacific Ocean Plastic Gyre. The reduction in pollution definitely reaps its benefits. This year the UNESCO World Heritage Center removed the Belize Barrier Reef from the endangered species list. That coral reef is the second largest in the world, so this a huge accomplishment for the global environment.

Another environmental factor that will significantly impact human lives in a positive way is the reparation of the Ozone layer. Experts say that it could be completely mended in most parts of the world by 2030. This improvement was a response to reducing harmful chemicals in hairspray and whipped cream aerosol cans. With the Ozone almost back to normal, skin cancer and eye problems like cataracts will be reduced.

Of course, there are many issues that should be acknowledged and addressed, however despite that being said the world is not as horrible as it seems.