Are We Really Better Off? Apparently We Are . . . See For Yourself. is responsible for this beautiful photo. I do not claim any connection to this photo. I use it simply for education, research or rebuttal and criticism purposes only.

I look at this orb floating in space and realize that I live on that thing. I have a place there. Amazing. Then I think about all of the crazy things that happen on it. It’s at this point I begin to recognize how little influence I have concerning the day-to-day events and the ramifications of those events.

Two such events happened the past week or so which astounded me–not for their brilliance but for the manner by which the were carried out.

I’m having difficulty grasping the total lack of conscience the perpetrators demonstrated while committing a most malevolent act of barbarism. I am speaking about the 4 people who kidnapped an 18 year old mentally ill man and tortured him for 4-5 hours. They forced him to drink water from a toilet bowl, they cut away a part of his scalp, they punched and kicked him and then stomped on his head. There is no excuse that can come close to explaining what went on in that place. This is not about black and white folks so let’s not go there to try and ‘explain’ what happened or why. This was a cold and inhuman demonstration of pure evil. There is no rehab program for this behaviour. My fervent hope is that these four criminals will NEVER, EVER see the light of day again. They need to be separated out from each other and society as a whole. I hope that the legal system speaks loudly and clearly when called upon to mete out justice for all. This was a hate crime. There can be no doubt that the legal message needs to be ‘you cannot and will not be allowed to do this in this civilized society.’

Next there is the case of the mentally ill man who was allowed to board an aircraft with his unloaded gun albeit locked in a lock box. He was able to retrieve his weapon upon landing then promptly went to a washroom-loaded it-left the washroom–went out and murdered 5 innocent human beings and wounded 8 others. He did all this legally and by the book. I’m sure that the 5 dead people and their families are experiencing a measure of relief knowing that. What group of geniuses came up with this approach? This is not about the 2nd amendment anymore. I liken this debate to a child who wont give up his favourite chocolate bar although he is allergic to chocolate. Wouldn’t it make more sense to lock up his weapon and NOT permit him immediate access to ammunition in his checked bag? Perhaps if he had to go somewhere else to buy his ammo he would have changed his mind about doing what he did.

In spite of all this madness and mayhem there have been many agreements negotiated on the world stage which indicate we are, in truth, moving in the right direction as a species. There is hope that we can continue to dialogue with other nations to provide a safer and cleaner world for us all to live in.

I have listed 10 examples that tell a story of hard work and a willingness to do what is best for all. Change can be attained if there is a will to get it done.

1. In March, the US government abandoned its plan for oil and gas drilling in Atlantic waters, reversing its decision from a year ago. Guardian

2. In 2016, over 20 countries pledged more than $5.3 billion for ocean conservation and created 40 new marine sanctuaries covering an area of 3.4 million square km. Reuters

3. In December, the United States and Canada announced a joint permanent ban on all offshore oil and gas activity in the Arctic. CBC News

4. 93% of kids around the world learned to read and write this year. That’s the highest proportion in human history. Also the gender gap between girls and boys in school narrowed in 2016. Medium

5. In 1990, more than 60% of people in East Asia lived in extreme poverty. As of 2016, that proportion has dropped to 3.5%. Vox

6. In October, the International Energy Agency reported that half a million solar panels were installed each day around the world in 2015. It also drastically increased its five year growth forecast for renewables. IEA

7.  Mexico announced $6 billion in renewables investments, Argentina $2.7 billion, Scotland connected underwater turbines to its grid for the first time, and solar energy generated more power than coal in the United Kingdom. Independent UK

8. In November, India unveiled the world’s largest solar power plant, and revealed that it is now on track to be the world’s third biggest solar market in 2017. Al Jazeera

9. The average number of large oil spills around the world has been drastically reduced, from an average of 24.5 per year in the 1970s, to just 1.8 a year in 2015. ITOPF

10. Later that month, Israel revealed that it now makes 55% of its freshwater. That means that one of the driest countries on earth now has more water than it needs. Ensia (another 89 reasons to be optimistic)

There are some very exciting indications that the world and their leaders are ‘getting’ the urgency of taking care of Mother Nature so she can care for us.

Anyways, that’s how I see things. All the best, Jim

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Author Jim Cloughley's 
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