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How 2023 Made The World Better

The publication Science brought some uplifting news that I want to share with readers. We all get immersed in the problems of modern life and who hasn't wished for a simpler, "easier" time. But there has been great scientific and innovative progress made for the planet in 2023 that proves we are living in the best time for humanity. Take a look at this:

  • Countries signed a landmark treaty to protect the high seas after 20 years of negotiations, members of the United Nations agreed to protect marine life in international waters (2/3 of the entire ocean).

  • California national park bounced back after wildfire that burned 70% of Lassen Volcanic National Park. Shrubs and grasses are growing and fungi and insects are decomposing dead tree trunks, leading to recovery.

  • The world may have crossed a solar power tipping point making it on track to become the main source of the world's energy by 2050. Renewables are already cheaper than fossil fuels.

  • The world's first container ship powered by methanol completed its maiden voyage . Methanol can be made from food waste at landfills and the shipping industry is responsible for about 3% of world wide emissions.

  • A cheap and effective vaccine against malaria got approval and can be rolled out to more children. Malaria is the leading cause of death among children in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Scientists identified more than 3 times the number of genetic risk factors for migraines that could speed up the search for new treatments. Migraines affect more than 10% of people worldwide

  • An implant restored walking ability for Parkinson's disease allowing a patient with advanced Parkinson's to walk several miles.

  • AI-powered prediction helped Chileans evacuate from floods in South America two days before the flooding, saving lives and property.

  • DeepMind's new AI can predict whether a genetic mutation is likely to cause disease by using sequences of amino acids in proteins and detecting anomalies.

  • Brazil's Supreme Court ruled for Indigenous rights , reversing a powerful agribusiness lobby that would have expelled them from their ancestral lands.

Some additional events from 2023 (not noted in the Science article) are also noteworthy.

  • The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychiatric Studies (MAPS) proved treatment success and filed an application with the FDA for using psychoactive drugs in the treatment of various mental disorders. They have been working on this for over 40 years.

  • Mexico decriminalized abortion, following the lead of Argentina and Columbia, protecting women in Latin American countries.

  • The Supreme Court upheld America's strongest animal cruelty laws , guaranteeing that California's Prop 12 will stand. It means 700,000 animals won't be confined in cages so small that they can't even turn around. California buys more than 12% of the nations meat and egg supply.

  • The FDA has approved the first gene editing (Crisper) tool that may offer a cure for Sickle Cell Disease. The disease affects millions world-wide.

There are so many more advances and discoveries to report but this is a short blog post. I appreciate anyone who has read this far.

I woke up on New year Day with gratitude that I was in a warm, cozy bed with a fluffy pillow. Something that over 30 million refugees don't have. Despite the terrible problems in the world, science, education and self-awareness are at an all-time high and that is what we can look to with hope for a better world.

Happy New Year - 2024


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