The Improving State of the World

The Improving State of the World: Why We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet, Indur Goklany, Cato 2007

It is a sobering thought that, until relatively recently, most readers of this article would be dead before they reached their current age. As recently as 1900 the average human life expectancy worldwide is estimated to have been about 31 years. In the Middle Ages it was 20-30. Even those readers who have not yet reached their twenties would probably not have many years left if they lived in the pre-industrial era.

Goklany, who has worked in environmental policy for over 30 years, says it was partly his Indian upbringing that motivated him to write the book. Most of the people he meets in his professional capacity, specialising in climate change and in health policy, have a bleak view of the world. They tend to assume things are getting worse all the time. ‘I don’t share that point of view…’