The real world is not as bad and scary as they say
When you check the news on the radio, TV or internet, it seems that all you hear about is crime, corruption, terrorism, accidents or natural disasters. After you have heard this kind of information in the morning while sipping your cup of coffee, you already feel depressed by all the tragedies and cannot help thinking that we live in a broken world and that we are surrounded by ill-intended people. But is our world that bad? Is it really getting worse by the day? Are most countries plagued by attacks, corruption or deadly diseases, making it unsafe to go anywhere?
Typically, what we find about the state of the world is indeed catastrophic news or stigmas of poverty, hunger, drugs, issues with human rights, war or disease. As the adage goes “where there is smoke, there is fire”: the problems lying under these stereotypes do exist and we fully need to be aware of them to try to fix them.
However, the existence of these problems should not prevent us from seeing the richness of the planet as well. It is as if the planet were an iceberg and we could only see its tip. The tip would be all the dramatic and negative happening around the world; the bottom much larger but somehow hidden would be all the actual and positive assets of the planet.
Indeed, the world is not as dramatic and scary as they say; it is an incredibly rich environment per the natural kindness and intelligence of the human being everywhere you go, its environment, its technologic innovations, or its diversity in art, fashion and music.
As I have been fortunate to be able to travel and work on all continents of the world, from Brazil to the Philippines, Canada to Namibia, Kenya to Austria, Saudi Arabia to Vietnam, in the last 30 years, I have seen and experienced in a simplistic way much wonder of a world that is for some reason seldom presented to people.
These wonders included breathtaking sceneries of hills, animals, countryside, forests, urban areas, deserts, oceans and beaches. One cannot describe the variety of colors and nuances of light one might see in different settings without experiencing it. As such, I will never forget the uniquely red sky over sand dunes in Namibia, or the variety of greens in Brazil.
The wonders also included innovations and smart technology by people who either invented new products; or tailored existing ones to their specific needs in a very clever way. I saw Kenyans being very creative and fast thinking in difficult situations to tailor products to their often reduced means.
From Vietnam to Canada, I enjoyed eating local culinary specialties made of local ingredients and spices; and smelled a wide variety of fragrances that one cannot get at home; I enjoyed hearing different beats of music from Mexico to Ireland with their unique style or instruments;
I observed the fragrant colors and styles of the different fashion trends whether from the US or France; I was captivated by the sumptuous architecture of buildings in Italy and was very humbled by the cultural heritage from the world’s ancestors like in Guatemala.
I also met generous, kind and smart people everywhere; people who were eager to work and make things better and who worked hard at it.
And there are people I have not even met but I know they are there somewhere, and heavily contribute to making the world even better, especially for people with smaller means, and for future generations. If you look online, you will be amazed by the quantity of initiatives taken either by foundations, NGOs, institutions and now more and more private companies to make things better. We just don’t hear that much about it.
Those initiatives include the creation of infrastructure and utilities to enhance people’s health and generate economic growth; they also work on alleviating poverty & inequalities; fight hunger; enable more and more people especially girls to get an education, or fight for gender equality. They also help create and apply new sustainable techniques to preserve the planet’s wellbeing. These initiatives involve much time and efforts by all the people involved; significant capital; and many discussions held at different levels including at governance level to make a difference as quickly as possible.
At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. Is the plan perfect; will they succeed? I don’t know; hopefully. But sometimes with goals, it is the journey to try to reach them that is important. In this case, I am confident that with these goals in mind, countries, institutions, NGOs and private companies will continue to make things better and protect our rich planet. The journey can only be positive and needs to be encouraged.
So, the world is not as bad as they say; sure it has some issues; sure the systems are not perfect but there is also so much grandeur everywhere around. And millions of people are working hard at preserving this grandeur. If you get a chance to travel, please do; you will be surprised by the experience. If do not get that chance, please look around you, from a different angle, and you will be able to find richness that will offset all the depressing negativity that we are typically subject too.