And Now For the Good News

by Einar Du Rietz

How splendid in this often pessimist debate, to get the chance to present some good news!

According to the global health statistics from WHO, things are going in the right direction, in some cases remarkably well. Since 1990, infant mortality has decreased by 30 percent. Malnutrition is going down, access to drinking water has gone up, and even the spread of HIV has been halted.

It’s still a long way to go, but at least the WHO points out, in their own analysis that the most essential prerequisite for the creation of healthier societies is growth and sound politics, in other – though not directly WHO’s – words, free markets and democracy. One of the few complaints in the study, is that chronic diseases that used to be a problem for the industrialized world, now are more common in developing countries. Sad enough, but a rather natural consequence of decreased epidemics and higher life expectancy. Call it a luxury problem if you wish, but at least I – with my rather bad allergy – is happy to have been born and still be alive. About a hundred years ago, when allergies did not exist in Europe, that would have been a lot less likely. Two of the both worse and common illnesses in the developed world (The developing countries, sadly, are still fighting with Malaria, due to western stupidity some decades ago), diabetes and cancer – both chronic – are horrendous things. Scientists are working frantically to find the best cures. What is needed for this endeavour is nothing less than expensive education and research, technological development and heavy investments . Even the companies are pitching in, creating less expensive equipment not dependent on a steady access to electricity.

Another piece of news that could be either good or bad, is that Christina Figueres from Costa Rica, has been appointed new head of the UN Climate section, after Yvo de Boer. Good, if she can put some sense into the debate. Not so good if she continues the fight to dramatically reduce the possibilities for growth and prosperity that her predesesors sadly carried out.

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About the Author: Einar Du Rietz

Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.