Cumberland Times-News

Bob Doyle - Astronomy

February 11, 2012

Sobering facts about developing world


With the exception of sports and social news, a large portion of the information we get is rather negative, focusing on crime, foreclosures, nasty weather, verbal attacks of one candidate against the other(s), and foreign threats.
It’s no wonder that so many Americans think that our country is going in the wrong direction. But to get a better perspective, it’s useful to consider how people live in the developing parts of the world. 
These developing countries have 82 per cent of all humans now alive. The developing countries include China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria. 
The developed countries have only 18 per cent of the world’s population. The developed countries include the United States, Western Europe, Australia and Japan.
ENERGY: Since 1956, Shell (an Anglo-Dutch Multinational Oil Company has worked in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. Over that time, there have been 4,000 oil spills, far more oil discharged than the Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico a few years ago.
ENVIRONMENT: In 1983, the gold mining in Ghana (on West Coast of Africa) was deregulated. 80 percent of the mining is now controlled by foreign companies. This has led to the destruction of 60 oercebtof Ghana’s rainforests.
   MONEY: The economy of the African country of Zimbabwe collapsed, when hyperinflation reached 231 million percent in July 2008. In 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe issued a $100 trillion dollar note. (One hundred trillion has 15 zeroes!)
AIR: Just 1 percent of China’s 560 million urban inhabitants breathe air considered safe by the World’s Health Organization.
LIFE EXPECTANCY: Swaziland, a small landlocked country in southern Africa has a life expectancy of 32 years. Swaziland has a HIV rate of 39 per cent, the highest in the world. This epidemic has surged due to high unemployment, poverty and traditional/religious beliefs regarding sex.
SANITATION: 2.6 billion people (37 per cent of all humans) don’t have basic sanitation. 1 billion people use unsafe sources of drinking water. Five times as many children die from diarrhea caused by unclean water than die from HIV/AIDS.

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Bob Doyle - Astronomy
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