Saturday, September 15, 2007

Don’t tell anyone! (It’s only good news)

When you hear or read the news, do you feel sometimes like you are only getting one side of the story? …not getting the whole picture? I know I frequently do.

Take the North Pole for example. Over recent months I have read numerous articles about ice melting at the North Pole, and the impact that that could have on polar bears. In fact, just this morning, Google News had a series of 216 news articles with the main headline: ‘Northwest Passage Ice Shrinks to New Low’.

So, where is the good news? Well, I find it amazing that, before today, I had never heard that the exact opposite to what is happening at the North Pole is happening at the South Pole. Apparently the ice cap there is expanding! Yes, that’s right, expanding, getting bigger, increasing in size! In fact, it has reached its largest extent since measurements began in 1979. Isn’t it remarkable that it was only through an obscure blog that this information has become available to the public? But, so far, only to internet users. No one in the media seems to be interested.

This kind of fits in with another news item that was quickly buried this week. According to the 2007 State of the Future report published by the American Council for the Tokyo-based United Nations University, the world faces a brighter future with fewer wars, higher life expectancy and improved literacy.

Thousands of policy-makers, academics, futurists and creative thinkers from around the world contribute to these State of the Future reports.

Other positive or encouraging facts and figures were:

* African conflicts fell from a peak of 16 in 2002 to five in 2005
* the number of refugees around the world is falling
* HIV/AIDS in Africa has begun to level off and could begin to actually decrease
* there is higher life expectancy worldwide
* there is lower infant mortality worldwide
* increased literacy
* increases in gross domestic products per capita
* vast majority of the world living in peace, conflicts decreased over the past decade

So, getting back to the melting ice, maybe there is nothing to worry about concerning polar bears after all. If need be, we can ship them all down south if the going gets too tough in the north. Somehow, I don’t think it will be necessary.