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Has life improved since 2000?

I sometimes find myself feeling disheartened by the bombardment of negative media surrounding issues such as politics, inequality and climate change. Additionally to this, half of the world’s population is currently isolating due to Covid-19. While doing an online course on sustainable development I realised humanity has progressed in many ways and there’s so much we have achieved in just 20 years.

In this article I will summarise five ways the world has improved over the past 20 years to highlight that there’s many positives:

1. Life Expectancy

Global life expectancy has improved by 9 years since 2000.

2000: 66 years

2000: 73 years

Did you know that around 100 years ago, people lived to the age of 30 on average?

There’s a combination of reasons that has contributed to this; improved healthcare, sanitation and less poverty. We can improve our chances of living longer by simple eating healthier, staying active and drinking water. 5/10 of the oldest people currently alive are Japanese women with can be accounted to regular physical activity, healthy diet and a community. (Source) (Source two)

While in Okinawa, Japan I interviewed people about longevity and purpose. This 103 said her secret to living a long and happy life was having a supportive community around her. ​(Jasper Wilkins)

​2. Global poverty Poverty has dropped by 20% globally since 2000. 2000: 28% 2020: 8% Additionally to this; since 1990, one quarter of the world’s population has risen out of extreme poverty; this is amazing progress for humanity. But we still have to work to do; 700 million people still live in extreme poverty globally. (Source)

While working in Ethiopia during 2013 with ICS it was apparent that basic healthcare, water sanitation and hygiene was lacking. I was shocked to see how caring and loving these people were. (Jasper Wilkins)

​3. Internet and the Information age. Internet access has increased by 1500% since 2000. 2000: 5% 6.1 billion people. 2020: 57% of 7.8 billion people. The widespread accessibility to the Internet has endless benefits; from financial and communication to knowledge and opportunities. A platform that can give you instant access to information is incredible and I think it’s sometimes taken for granted. Can you imagine how much harder life without be without the internet? (Source)

I personally have benefited from the Internet and it’s an integral part of my work, I can’t imagine life without it. I completed my university dissertation about the Internet and belief; It is apparent that technology has massively helped humanity. (Jasper Wilkins)

4. Renewable energy

Renewable energy has increased globally by over 250% since 2000.

Global production of renewable energy (TeraWatt Hours)

2000: 2872 TWh

2018: 6673 TWh

Climate change is one of the biggest threats to modern civilisation and if we continue to deplete the earth’s resources, this will be a very sad earth to inhabit. Due to the accessibility of information (number 2) and technological capabilities, we now have the capability to drastically change. People are becoming increasingly aware about humanities impact and sustainable solutions are more common. (Source) (Source two)

I have been inspired by countless communities, organisations and governments making big change to mitigate climate change, creating sustainable solutions to these important issues. There’s still so much to do and we must stay hopeful. (Jasper Wilkins)​

5. Females in secondary education

The percentage of females in secondary has improved by 18%.

Percentage of females in secondary education:

2000: 57%

2020: 75%

An increase in educated females improves a society greatly; decreased mortality rate, decreased population explosion (educated women have less children), decreased domestic violence and improved socioeconomic growth. (Source)

An African proverb says: “If we educate a boy, we educate one person. If we educate a girl, we educate a family – and a whole nation.”

While working in Ethiopia (2013) I met some incredible females passionate about making the world a better place. Through my experience (especially within international development) I have witnessed females achieving incredible things for humanity and this happens more often through education. (Jasper Wilkins)

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