Sep 30, 2017

Good news: 10 things humanity is getting right

Illustration: Robert Harrison / Axios

Devastating hurricanes, Nazi and KKK parades, melting ice sheets, ISIS, and threats of nuclear war — We are daily bombarded with bad news. It's hard to believe Barack Obama's claim that "now is the greatest time to be alive." And yet, we were able to find 10 pieces of important, good news to prove we as humans are at least getting a few things right.

Why it matters: We all need some good news now and then.

  1. We're wealthier than ever before. Despite growing income inequality and the various gender and race gaps in our society, Americans overall are wealthier than they ever have been, including African Americans and Hispanics. There are more rich people and fewer poor people.
  2. We're beating cancer. While there are still life-altering side effects from chemotherapy, and some forms of cancer have low survival rates, researchers have reported a continued decline in overall cancer death rates due to screening, prevention and new treatments.
  3. Teen pregnancies are down by 51% from ten years ago, an extraordinarily fast social change compared to adult smoking, which took 40 years to reduce by half. Experts attribute the phenomenon to better use of birth control, as teenage girls were found to be just as likely to be sexually active in 2007 as 2012.
  4. Oil independence: The U.S.'s dependence on foreign oil continues to decrease, with even fewer imports in 2016, a new 30 year low.
  5. The hole in the earth's ozone layer is on the mend with the help of the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which helped phase out ozone-destroying chemicals.
  6. In galaxies far, far away, astronomers say we are entering a new era where we can both see with optical telescopes and hear with detectors like LIGO events occurring deep in space. A little closer to home, Elon Musk announced plans to start colonizing Mars as early as 2024 and sending cargo to the planet in 5 years.
  7. Women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive cars for the first time in June 2018.
  8. In Houston we witnessed citizens going out of their way in boats and jetskis to rescue those stuck in the floods after Hurricane Harvey.
  9. The five living former presidents, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter have banded together to raise money to aid Hurricane relief efforts in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Island. You can follow their lead to address the suffering in Puerto Rico. Donate here, here or here to help.
  10. A sunny forecast: To top it all off, most Americans will get to enjoy beautiful weather this weekend with only a few expected showers, according to the Weather Channel.

Go deeper

JPMorgan Chase to pull support for some fossil fuels

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

JPMorgan Chase said Monday that it won’t directly finance new oil and gas development in the Arctic and will significantly curtail its financing of the extraction and burning of coal.

Why it matters: JPMorgan is the world’s largest funder of fossil-fuel companies, according to a report by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN). The announcement follows similar moves by other big banks and investment firms, including Goldman Sachs and BlackRock.

WHO won't call coronavirus a pandemic as cases spread

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization will not yet call the coronavirus a pandemic, claiming that needs across affected countries are too varied and the classification would increase fear, per a briefing Monday.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, WHO expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,620 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health