‘Historic milestone’ as global child mortality hits record low in 2022
By Peter Schulte profile image Peter Schulte
6 min read

‘Historic milestone’ as global child mortality hits record low in 2022

And nine more of humanity's social change milestones from the week of March 11 - 17 C.E.

Good news for humankind!

The world's latest milestones for climate, justice, peace, health, and more

March 11 - 17 2024 C.E.

‘Historic milestone’ as global child mortality hits record low in 2022

Figures newly released by the U.N. Interagency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME) reveal the global under-five mortality rate has declined by 51% since 2000 reaching an all-time low. Some countries such as Cambodia, Malawi, Mongolia, and Rwanda reduced under-five mortality rate by over 75% over the time period. UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell praised the dedicated efforts of midwives, health workers and community health workers, whose commitment has contributed to the remarkable decline.

Japanese high court rules same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

Japan’s march toward marriage equality took a giant leap when a high court ruled the country’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Civil code rules limiting marriage to couples of the opposite sex, the high court in Sapporo ruled, are “unconstitutional” and “discriminatory.” Existing law, the justices wrote, should be revised or rewritten to include other types of unions in addition to those between a man and a woman.

The TREES program has planted tens of millions of trees across Africa since 2015

Since it was founded in 2015, the Trees for the Future (TREES) mass reforestations campaign has convinced and enabled thousands of farmers to plant tens of millions of trees every year. The program spans nine African countries ranging from Senegal and Mali to Tanzania and Kenya. In less than 10 years, it has reportedly restored a combined area of more than 41,000 hectares, which is about seven times the size of Manhattan.

Chinese fossil car production plunges amid surging EV demand

A Financial Times story reports that the asset value of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle factories has plummeted as legacy carmakers scale back production because of the growing popularity of electric vehicles. China’s 2023 ICE vehicle production is down a staggering 37% from its peak of 17.7 million in 2017, in a major win for climate action.

America’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm is now delivering energy to the grid

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the completion of South Fork Wind, a 132-megawatt project by Danish energy giant Ørsted and Boston-based utility Eversource. All 12 of the wind farm’s towering turbines are now in place and producing enough clean electricity to power roughly 70,000 homes in Long Island, New York.

Oregon area named world’s largest dark sky sanctuary

The Oregon outback is now home to the world’s largest dark sky sanctuary, offering pristine views of the night sky across 2.5 million acres. The Oregon outback international dark sky sanctuary received the certification this week, becoming the largest of 19 sites around the world with the same designation. The sanctuary covers Lake County in south-eastern Oregon, a remote area roughly half the size of New Jersey, and could eventually expand to include more than 11 million acres.

Cancer deaths in middle-aged people in the U.K. have plummeted since the 1990s

Fewer middle-aged people are dying from cancer in the U.K. than at any point over the last 25 years, a new study from Cancer Research UK has revealed. The study showed that overall, mortality rates have dropped by 37% in men and by 33% in women over that span.

Liverpool to build the world’s largest tidal power project

The City of Liverpool, England, has unveiled advanced proposals to build the world’s largest tidal power generator on the River Mersey. Mersey Tidal Power would become the largest tidal range scheme in the world. It would power more than 1 million homes for more than 120 years.

Scientists invent ultrathin, wireless, light-operated pacemaker that cuts invasive surgery

Scientists at the University of Chicago have developed a new pacemaker that’s thinner than a human hair, wireless, and operated entirely by light from an optic fiber. The non-invasive device could help regulate heart activity or even stimulate neurons in a set pattern to treat symptoms of conditions like Parkinson’s.

Asiatic lions in India upgraded from endangered to vulnerable status in conversation win

In its recent report, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has reclassified the Asiatic lion from "endangered" to "vulnerable," signifying a significant improvement in their conservation status. This is a major win for Gujarat, India, the world's sole home of these big cats.

Global child mortality rate plummets from a historical average of 48% to 27% in 1950 (1950 C.E.)

As recently as two centuries ago, around 1 in 2 children died before reaching the end of puberty. Our ancestors were largely powerless against poverty, famine, and disease, and these calamities were especially devastating for children. Since then, child mortality has plummeted across the world. This dramatic decline has resulted from better nutrition, clean water, sanitation, neonatal healthcare, vaccinations, medicines, and reductions in poverty, conflicts, and famine.

Global child mortality rates drops below 2.5% for the first time in history (2040 C.E. ???)

The global Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all U.N. member states in 2015 set out an ambitious goal to achieve less than 25 deaths before the age of 5 per every 1000 children. A decade after the initial 2030 goal, the world finally achieves this monumental milestone for families and communities around the world.

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Kindness fiction

Last week, I went out to see Dune: Part 2 in the theater. I loved it. It was beautiful, emotional, thrilling, and thought-provoking. I may go see it again.

With that said, I notice that most science fiction sagas like this depict human values as mostly fixed. Though Dune certainly has quite a bit of nuance, at the end of the day most of its characters are motivated or eventually corrupted by power, greed, and all the usual human vices. The stories play out just as we might expect a cautionary story from early civilizations would.

On one hand, Dune and most science fiction stories are clearly meant as allegories to the human condition today. So these familiar human vices are vital to the author's message. I get that.

But I bristle at the insistence that humans are bound to these same dynamics for all eternity. In fact, if we do survive for millennia to come to the point where we have interstellar travel and galactic federations, I am willing to bet that it's only because we've largely transcended these same old vices, that human values have evolved toward a more all-encompassing kindness, that rulers (if they even exist in the same sense) will be pre-occupied by their duty to serve the whole of all life and creation, rather than themselves or their tribes.

I'd love to see a vivid vision of the future that depicts humans truly embodying these aspirational values and ways of being. What does a tragic hero story look like when all players are motivated by love, collaboration, and kindness? Are heroes even necessary anymore? What timeless tensions and complexities persist even when we live from these values? What new stories are possible when we evolve into a new human consciousness?

Peter Schulte
Leadership Coach
Executive Director of Spark of Genius

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By Peter Schulte profile image Peter Schulte
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