Global life expectancy increased by 6.2 years between 1990 and 2021

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The world’s latest milestones for climate, justice, peace, health, and more

April 8 – 14 2024 C.E.

Global life expectancy increased by 6.2 years between 1990 and 2021

A new study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that the super-region of Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Oceania had the world’s largest net gain in life expectancy between 1990 and 2021 (8.3 years), largely due to reductions in mortality from chronic respiratory diseases, stroke, lower respiratory infections, and cancer.

India approves massive $9 billion rooftop solar plan

A massive subsidy program to help Indian households install rooftop solar panels in their homes and apartments aims to provide 30 gigawatt hours of solar power to the nation’s inventory. The scheme, called PM-Surya Ghar, will provide free electricity to 10 million homes according to estimates, and the designing of a national portal will streamline the process of installation and payment.

A group of older Swiss women win first-ever climate case victory in the European Court of Human Rights

The women, mostly in their 70s, said that their age and gender made them particularly vulnerable to the effects of heatwaves linked to climate change. The court said Switzerland’s efforts to meet its emission reduction targets had been woefully inadequate. The ruling is binding and can trickle down to influence the law in 46 countries in Europe.

U.N. makes history with first-ever resolution supporting intersex rights

The U.N. Human Rights Council has issued its first-ever resolution supporting the rights of intersex people. An estimated 1.7% of infants are born intersex — many are forced to undergo irreversible surgeries to “correct” their anatomy and are subject to stigma and discrimination. The resolution directs the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on the challenges intersex people face and the best ways to ensure intersex people’s “highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.”

Canada to make contraception for women free

The government will pay for the most widely used methods to avoid pregnancy, such as IUDs, contraceptive pills, hormonal implants or the day after pill, for the nine million Canadian women of reproductive age, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said at a press conference. “Women should be free to choose the contraceptives they need without cost getting in the way. So, we’re making contraceptives free,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announces first-ever national regulations for “forever chemicals” in drinking water

Commonly called “forever chemicals,” PFAS are synthetic chemicals found nearly everywhere — in air, water, and soil — and can take thousands of years to break down in the environment. The EPA has stated there is no safe level of exposure to PFAS without risk of health impacts, but now it will require that public water utilities test for six different types of PFAS chemicals to reduce exposure in drinking water. The new standards will reduce PFAS exposure for 100 million people, according to the EPA, and prevent thousands of deaths and illnesses.

New online tool is first to track funding to Indigenous, local, and Afro-descendant communities

The Path to Scale dashboard, developed in a partnership between the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and the Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN), provides information on funding from 133 donors since 2011 based on publicly available information. According to the developers, this publicly accessible dashboard will help donors, NGOs and rights holders identify critical funding gaps and opportunities in global efforts to secure communities’ rights.

Global death tolls from natural disasters have plummeted over the last century

According to a recent study from Our World In Data, in the early-to-mid 20th century, the average annual death toll from disasters was very high, often climbing to over a million. In recent decades, such deaths are typically fewer than 20,000 people, even as natural disasters become more frequent and more extreme.

Rewilding program ships eggs around the world to restore Raja Ampat zebra sharks

The Shark Reef Aquarium on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada has been sending zebra shark eggs to Indonesia’s Raja Ampat. Researchers hope to release 500 zebra sharks into the wild within 10 years in an effort to support a large, genetically diverse breeding population. A survey estimated the zebra shark had a population of 20 spread throughout the Raja Ampat archipelago, making the animal functionally extinct in the region.

Solar generates more power than coal in Texas for first time ever

Solar generation in Texas was 3.26 terawatt hours (TWh) in the month of March, beating the 2.96 TWh sent out by coal-fired generators. It’s the first time solar has beaten coal over a whole month in Texas, the largest user of coal for power generation of any state in the U.S. The share of coal generation in Texas is now declining rapidly, from 40% more than a decade ago and 30% in 2017 to 13.9% in 2023.

Global life expectancy surpasses 40 years for first time ever (1955 C.E.)

In 1800, no region had a life expectancy higher than 40 years. But over the last two centuries, the average life expectancy has risen steadily and significantly across all regions. This extraordinary rise is the result of a wide range of advances in health – in nutrition, clean water, sanitation, neonatal healthcare, antibiotics, vaccines, and other technologies and public health efforts – and improvements in living standards, economic growth, and poverty reduction.

Global life expectancy reaches 75 years for first time ever (2035 C.E. ???)

Through major advancements in medicine, public health, and poverty alleviation, by 2021 the global average life expectancy was just over 70 years. Less than 15 years later, humanity reaches another critical milestone by achieving 75 years of life expectancy around the world.

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