Nov 13, 2018
Dr. Colin Mayfield Professor Emeritus Biology
Why almost everything we believe about the state of the world today is wrong

Colin Mayfield is Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Waterloo and Senior Advisor at the United Nations University - Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) based at McMaster University. He has been with UNU-INWEH since its inception in 1997 as the "think tank on water" for the United Nations and has visited and worked in over 100 countries around the world.  Most of the projects have been in producing policy documents for the UN,  implementing water and sanitation projects and  capacity development for developing countries.

TITLE:  "Why almost everything we believe about the state of the world today is wrong”.  

SYNOPSIS:I use real data (for a change) from the United Nations, national census agencies and other sources to look at the really substantial progress we have made in the last 200 or so years in almost every country in the world - and especially in the last 30 years. 

I will look at life expectancy, violence, safety, health, disease, wealth, the environment, literacy,  poverty, income inequality, nutrition and food, famines, and country level measures of happiness. It paints a much different picture to the “gloom and doom merchants”  we hear almost every day. For instance, Canada is the 6th happiest country in the world - surpassed only by some Scandinavian countries and Switzerland! 

I then try and show why we are prone to develop the pessimistic views that many have about the present and the future through our cognitive biases.