It seems as if everyday we’re bombarded with bad news, with breaking updates reeling across the TV screen about humanity’s most recent downfall: an act of racism, a murder, a child abused, our contribution to global warming, and most recently a deadly riot. We take for granted this world we live in, our effect on it and the people around us, and even our very lives—we disregard the very miracle that is our existence. But while we’re capable of causing so much damage and so much despair, we’re equally as capable of spreading love, making groundbreaking discoveries, and fixing what we broke in the past. We smile, we laugh, we rejoice—darkness exists, but the sun always shines through. So let this serve as a reminder that not all hope is lost. We absolutely suck at times, but we’re not all bad; we can actually be pretty great. Here’s some proof:

    1) Poverty has steadily decreased and will continue to do so.

    According to the World Bank, someone living in poverty is one who lives off of less than $1.90 per day (recently changed from $1.25). In 1981, 53% of the global population were living in absolute poverty. But by 2013, that number was down to 10.7%, a huge achievement for mankind. This steady drop in poverty is thanks to economic growth rates in markets such as India, as well as investments in health and education. We even have the power to end poverty by 2030, “as long as our high aspirations are matched by country-led plans that help [these individuals]”, claims Jim Yong Kim, World Bank president. We just have to keep a close eye on global growth, conflicts, unemployment, and the impact of climate change, all of which pose threats to accomplishing this great task.

    2) We’re saving animals and their habitats.

    People—countries even—are banning together to make major strides in protecting the great wilderness and its inhabitants. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, America actually has more trees now than before. For two centuries there was a decline, which flat lined in 1920, but it has since increased. As a result, populations of different wildlife species have increased significantly. And other areas of the world are making an effort too: in 2016, 24 countries and the EU came to an agreement that protects 600,000 square miles of Antarctica’s Ross Sea. Fishing or hunting any of the orca, penguins, whales, seals, and other marine-life in this area is banned. In addition, the previously endangered giant panda is now only “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Conservationists and scientists have contributed to a whopping 17% rise in the number of pandas since 2004. So while the condition of our world and the threat global warming poses to it is troubling, we are making improvements.

    3) We’re making moves to fix global warming.

    It’s true, we’ve dug ourselves into a pretty deep, polluted hole. There’s no denying it—well actually people try to, but they’re labelled as nutcases and rightfully so. However, most of us recognize the hand we have in global warming and are doing our best to dig ourselves out of this dangerous territory. In fact, 194 countries signed an agreement in 2015 to work together to lessen global warming, formally referred to as the Paris Agreement. That’s only 2 countries, Syria and Nicaragua, that have not dedicated themselves to fixing this major, global problem. President Donald Trump recently announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the agreement, but cannot legally or effectively withdrawal until the near close of 2020. Even so, the majority of Americans denounce Trump’s intention and pledge to hold up their part of the agreement despite the President’s agenda. Other efforts have also been made to combat and raise awareness for global warming, including the production of informative documentaries. One of these many films is An Inconvenient Truth, which explains and explores former United States Vice President Al Gore’s mission to educate us all about global warming. It successfully raised awareness of global warming and revived the environmental movement.

So, there you have it. Us humans actually care about the mistakes we make and the damage we cause to the world. And we don’t all just sit idly by, hoping everything repairs itself. We act. We incite change. We make a real effort to fix the mess we made.

If you’re not one of these people, you should reevaluate your actions and your abilities. Because you can easily make the world around you better. Offer a smile. Recycle your water bottle. Throw trash in a trashcan instead of out your car window. Take simple steps toward becoming the awesome person you are within and making the world a better place for all of us to live in.

Human Beings: Sure We Suck, But We’re Also Really Awesome