There is a dark spirit alive in the consciousness and conversations of the American people. Although many participated in the women's marches and were elated by the turnout and the solidarity of those who were proclaiming the ideals of peace, justice, and economic equality, the challenges of the New Year seem plentiful and whatever the Trump administration may do sounds onerous. Trump's inaugural address was full of dismal images.

Still, the always unconventional New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof takes a look at some global advances that according to some important metrics made 2016 one of the best years in history. He predicts 2017 could be even better.

  • In 2016, according to World Bank figures, every day, an average of about a quarter-million people worldwide graduated from extreme poverty.
  • Thanks to vaccinations, breast-feeding, diarrhea treatment, and more, it's only half as likely today that a parent will lose a child as it was in 1990.
  • Around the world, countries are on track to eliminate elephantiasis, leprosy, guinea worm, and other horrible diseases.
  • 85% of adults in the world are literate.

We respect Kristof's advocacy of these signs of improvement and immediately thought of Rob Brezsny's optimism in his book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia. He embraces a friendly universe where play, hope, and service of others abound. He, along with Kristof, believes that millions of adults around the world yearn for many more positive voices with good news to share.

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