Does it feel like Earth is spiraling out of control, that poverty, disease and climate change are bound to overwhelm us?
When I was born, more than half of the world’s people lived in extreme poverty; today fewer than 10 percent do.
No one on the planet has had smallpox in two generations. Only 22 people were paralyzed by polio last year. All we’ve learned from eradicating smallpox and polio is being used to fight malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis.
Climate change remains a threat, but there is reason to hope. In 2016, for the first time, the world produced less carbon than the year before despite a growing global economy; that trend continues.
But we can’t relax.
We should build purpose-driven enterprises that don’t extract value from low-income countries or communities but that create value for them.
We can fund schools that educate children, especially girls–who are too often excluded–so that everyone has an opportunity to prosper.
As consumers, we can insist that companies we support with our purchases are behaving responsibly toward the planet, their employees, customers and their communities.
As investors, we should purge our portfolios of investments in companies that harm the planet or people. Instead, we need to invest in companies that are improving global health and prosperity while protecting the environment.
I am deeply optimistic that by working together we can largely eliminate the threat of climate change and live in a more prosperous, healthier world.
Our solutions are greater than our problems.