Not the best, but not the worst of times
It may seem, at first glance, that 2012 has little to recommend itself as a year to remember, other than the resurgence of the Denver Broncos as a real contender for the NFL championship.
Who could have predicted a year ago that the Broncos would acquire Peyton Manning and that he would be on pace for another well-deserved MVP award? Who would have forecast in December 2011 that the improving Denver defense would become one of the most dominant in the NFL this year? Who would have expected a 13-3 record (if the Broncos defeat the Kansas City Chiefs today) and a legitimate shot at reaching the Super Bowl?
OK, so 2012 was a good year for Broncos fans. What about other aspects of the soon-to-be-past annum?
It was a year of drought and a fiscal cliff; of a continuing poor economy that was recovering only very slowly; of more business closings and home foreclosures; of an interminable election campaign, no matter who one supported; of violence and innocent deaths, here and around the world. What’s to celebrate, other than the fact the year is nearly over?
Well, there were some things worthy of note. From a global perspective, 2012 wasn’t bad at all, according to The Spectator magazine of Britain.
For instance, the number of people living in extreme poverty is now less than half what it was in 1990, and global inequality is lower than at any point in modern times.
And, while millions of people in the world still face hunger, largely due to their countries’ economies or political situations, more of the world’s people now worry about consuming too much food.
The average life expectancy across the world continues to increase, thanks to better medical treatment and improved health and safety protections.
Deaths from afflictions such as AIDs and malaria have decreased.
Additionally, for the first time in several generations, the United States now appears to be on track toward energy self-sufficiency, energy experts reported this year.
And the nation is accomplishing this while it is continuing to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide and other climate-change gasses.
This energy abundance is due in no small part to technologies such as directional drilling and fracking that were developed or improved in the natural gas fields of western Colorado.
None of this is to suggest 2012 was a halycon year or that there’s no cause for concern as we begin 2013. There are obviously plenty of reasons to be anxious and to temper one’s enthusiasm for the passing year. But 2012 wasn’t as bad as the doomsayers painted it, and there’s reason to hope 2013 can be even better.