Posts Tagged ‘snowball’

A Better World With Every New Day

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

No matter when you read this, the following statement will always be true:  We’ve never been closer to making world peace a reality than we are right now.  This statement will always be true because with every new moment, our world gets a little bit better, and each step we take forward brings us one step closer to world peace.

Our world has been consistently improving for centuries, and will continue to get even better at accelerating speeds. This isn’t some dream… it is firmly rooted in reality. One source that confirms this is Indur Goklany, whose book The Improving State of the World brings credible research and reliable facts to support his thesis, which is that our world is getting better and better.

Here are a few of his key findings:

  • Global Poverty has been on the decline for centuries
  • We are living longer, healthier lives than ever before
  • We are better educated than our parents generation, and our children will be better educated than us
  • Pollution is down in developed nations
  • Pollution will drop in developing nations as they learn from what developed nations have already done
  • Food supplies have increased almost 25 percent per capita in the past 50 years

Goklany credits the continued improvements to mutually reinforcing, co-evolving forces he calls the cycle of progress. This same phenomenon is something we’ve been referring to as The Snowball Effect, and it shows us how each step towards a better world makes it easier to take the next step, meaning we are approaching a better world at an accelerating pace.

One of the best notions of world improvement is how the impacts are felt most dramatically by those at the bottom. Tiny improvements that would barely impact those of us in developed nations can have huge ramifications for those who live in extreme poverty. A small improvement to one’s standard of living can mean the difference between life or death. Just one step up can provide an opportunity to climb out of the trap of extreme poverty. (like with John and his MoneyMakerPlus)

This really brings home the fact that every one of us truly has the power to make the world a better place… and our world will only get better as more people become aware of this.

As our world improves, it will decrease the levels of suffering.  As suffering drops, so too will tension. With less tension, we will have less violence, less war, and ultimately, more peace. As well, we come to see that our world really isn’t doomed, it will be easier for more of us to find peace within ourselves. A world full of humans embracing inner peace will be one more ingredient contributing to world peace.

Our world is getting better with every new day. Soon, a revolution of optimism will take hold of our planet as we come to recognize how we are truly on the brink of achieving world peace.

World Peace is Coming! – Poverty is War

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

With each passing day, we are drawing closer to a world without extreme poverty… this is just awesome!  But what is also awesome of equal or greater proportions is that as we eliminate poverty, so too will we be eliminating war! This is because poverty is war, meaning a life in poverty is a root grievance that leads many people to take up arms.

First, as we discuss poverty, it is important to note the different degrees of poverty we have in our world: relative, moderate, and extreme.

Relative poverty refers to the poorest people living in wealthy nations.  Welfare moms, drug addicts, and homeless people might come to mind when we think of poor people.  But relative poverty should not be confused with the more severe kinds of poverty… they are worlds apart.

In America, for example, relative poverty would mean living on less than about $30 a day.  In our world, moderate poverty means living on less than $2 a day, and extreme poverty means living on less that $1 a day. 2.7 Billion people live in moderate and extreme poverty in our world today… about 40 percent of our world’s population.

If we imagine how we might fare if we had to endure extreme or moderate poverty ourselves, it can be easy to see how life in extreme poverty might lead to a less than favorable roles in life. Criminal, extremist, and violent organizations can all find an ample supply of recruits looking for their slice of the pie.

We already have the means to change this, we have the resources to end extreme poverty within a year.  Estimates show that we could end starvation around the world for $195 billion a year.  This may seem like a lot, but it is less than 15 percent of our world’s military budgets.

But no matter, thanks to the cyclical nature of world improvement, the battle against poverty will continue to get easier.  This means that, within one or two decades, we will be ending extreme poverty forever. And as we do this, we will also be removing a primary force contributing to war. Hooray!

World Peace is Coming! – The Snowball Effect

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Did you know that the world today is the most peaceful it has ever been in modern human history?  Well, despite what those who profit from fear may want us to believe, its true… we are indeed living in a time of peace.  The world has been getting more and more peaceful every day for quite some time.

A comprehensive study by the Human Security Center at the University of British Columbia found that “the number of armed conflicts has declined by more than 40 percent since 1992”.  This same study also shows how, after five decades of inexorable increase, “the number of genocides and violent conflicts dropped rapidly in the wake of the cold war”. As well “wars are not only less frequent today, they are also far less deadly.”

We are truly fortunate to be part of this generation.  Not only are we becoming more peaceful, we are also becoming more prosperous.  Up until the 1800’s, the vast majority of us lived in moderate to extreme poverty, and our average life expectancy was 30 years.  Now, just 200 years later, only 20 percent of us live in extreme poverty, and the average life expectancy in our world is 70 years.

It is no coincidence that we have more peace and more prosperity, for the two walk hand in hand.  As we eliminate poverty from our world, we will be removing a root grievance that leads many people to take up arms – meaning a world without extreme poverty is a world much closer to having a lasting peace.

The phenomenon responsible for such vast improvements over the past two centuries is something we like to call the Snowball Effect, and it refers to how, much like a snowball rolling down a snowy hill, the movement towards a better world has been gaining speed and size with every step.

The Snowball Effect

As we can see in the graphic, gains in any of these key factors leads to a better world, which in turn, makes it easier for us to achieve gains in all the other factors.

To see a real world example of the snowball effect in action, we can look at a case involving a Kenyan farmer named John. John’s life changed when he was introduced to an ingenious device called the MoneyMakerPlus. The MoneyMakerplus is a low-cost, manually powered water pump, designed by a Nairobi based non profit group called KickStart.

John’s land used to be sparse and dry, for he relied on a bucket to water his crop. Now, thanks to his affordable water pump, he sees a seven fold increase in his crop yield. 45,000 others have bought a MoneyMakerPlus, and many, like John, have seem dramatic improvements to their farms.

In this example, we can see many of the factors of the snowball effect at play. The group who designed the pump – KickStart – are people helping to improve the world. The MoneyMakerPlus is the fruit of some advanced engineering, which comes thanks to improved education.  The result is cheaper, better technology.  This technology, in turn, improves agricultural yields.

Thanks to the surplus crops, farmers like John can now afford a better education for their children and an improved quality of life. For those who’ve been given a way out of the trap of extreme poverty, we can see a real surge of hope and optimism.  The same holds true for the people working to improve the world – they get to see that their efforts really can work.

While John and the MoneyMakerPlus may highlight how the snowball effect works, it certainly is not an isolated case.  Everywhere around the world, every single one of us have been gaining access to better tools, new resources, more information… all of which will give us the power to become more productive.  We will get more out of our days and more from our labor.

To those of us who already live in a developed nation, this might not be an overwhelming improvement, but to the 20 percent of the human race – the 1.4 Billion people who still live in extreme poverty – the snowball effect will show dramatic improvements to their quality of life.  It will mean they are no longer starving to death, or getting sick from easily preventable diseases, and to them, this will be life-changing.

And for everyone on earth, the snowball effect will mean that we get to enjoy living in a world that is consistently improving.  Eventually, thanks to our cyclically improving world, we will reach the point to where we’ve eradicated extreme poverty, eliminated institutionalized war, and ushered in a new age of equality, peace and prosperity.

With each passing day, our world improves faster than the day before.  A better world is coming… believe it.