by Elijah DeRoche, United World College Maastricht
29th of October, 2018
The world is turning to shit and we’ve been presented with the mission to save it. Or so it seems. Climate change is becoming increasingly menacing as the atmosphere scorches and sea levels swell. Species are going extinct as poaching intensifies and forests are being fell by money craving corporations. None of these facts are pleasant to consider, but what if I told you the world wasn’t as disastrous as you thought it was? What if conditions were actually improving every year, and we weren’t as close to the apocalyptic dystopia we thought we were barreling towards.
Of course there are many problems plaguing our world right now, that goes without saying, but statistically, we are living in the most peaceful, educated and medically advanced era in human history. One of the most frequent pleas I hear people in response to change-making and our world’s future goes somewhere along the lines of “What could we even do? We’re too far gone to change now.” And who could blame them? We are bombarded every day with news about inequality, terrorism, war, famine and environmental disasters. It’s easy in this world to develop a bleak outlook on the future. Our world is not a utopia by any means and there are substantial struggles and strifes in every corner of the globe, but it is important that we do not allow the news’ and media’s portrayals to blind us and diminish our will to continue striving for improvement. Difficult situations provoke change, but it is also easy to grow hopeless; to surrender.
In all low-income countries across the world, 60% of girls finish primary school, the past 30 years has seen the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty almost half, and over 80% of people have access to modern amenities like electricity. These facts may have little relevance to your life, or prevalent issues like climate change, but they, along with other facts, signify a global trend of improvement. Since 1900, the average human lifespan has more than doubled, wars have diminished significantly and we are emitting merely a fraction of the toxins factories used to expel into the atmosphere.
With all this said, however, we should not feel content with the world as it is. There is still widespread inequality, violence, poverty and famine, and while we are heading on the right track, these problems are far from solved. But, it’s not too late. We aren’t too far gone. Contrarily, we are living in the safest and most auspicious era in human history, and it is our generation’s responsibility to work to amend the problems we feel most passionate about.
Elijah DeRoche is an American first year student at United World College Maastricht. He has been a part of The Flying Dutchman as a writer since January 2018.