I was reading Time Magazine a week or two ago, and it included a collection of articles on things that are going right in the world. Since that viewpoint sometimes seems in short supply, and since we are in the very hopeful season of Lent, I thought it might be nice to share the good news, so to speak. Here are some statistics from one of the articles that might make you a bit more optimistic about issues that cause hunger:

  • In 1960, in the Middle East and North Africa,  85% of women had a child die before the age of 5. Today, it’s down to 10%.
  • In 1980, 526,000 women died in childbirth worldwide. In 2008, that number dropped by more than a third, down to 343,000.
  • Worldwide, girls’ school enrollments have been increasing – even to the point of matching or exceeding boys’ enrollments in parts of the Middle East.
  • In 1984, there were 24 wars being fought in the world. In 2008, there were 5.

Another article in the series said that most people in Afghanistan now have access to basic health care, and school enrollment is up by 5 million kids since the Taliban fell.  Closer to home, the U.S. economy is getting a boost from the growing economies like China’s. In 2010, the U.S. has a 32% increase in exports to China, and overseas companies are investing in industry here, bringing jobs. “Not one of the 450 people who work in the U.S. for Chinese appliance maker Haier is from China.”

And in case all that consumption makes you nervous for the  health of the planet, still another article explained how Americans (especially younger ones) are reversing the trend by sharing more instead of buying. The number of people with Zipcar memberships has topped 500,000, and Internet sites that help people rent other people’s stuff are growing in popularity.

Here’s to hopefulness! May you have a wonderful Leten season!

Nancy Michaelis