Understanding Our Place In The World

Check out these interactive maps from Our World In Data, you can play with the timeline to see how things have changed over time. Thanks to Effective Altruism for sending this out in their newsletter.

Our place in the world

Regardless of where you are in America or the developed world – and regardless of how you FEEL about your place in the world – the fact is that you are more well off than the vast majority of people on our planet.

So how can we spread the love and share these advantages with those less fortunate?

Consuming less and giving more

We all have our own reactions to information like this, and it’s important to power through the guilty feelings and move on to actually taking action. Even if it’s a small action, it makes a big difference to know you are doing something rather than nothing with all of the advantages you’ve been given.

My own personal solution is to intentionally limit my income by giving away a large percentage of it. This has several benefits for myself and others:

  • Limiting my income reminds me to stay smart with money and not be wasteful. This helps me to be grateful and happy.
  • Giving away a percentage encourages me to keep growing my business. Instead of being ok with doing a “good enough” job and making ends meet for my family, I am motivated to keep building and growing so that I can make a bigger impact.
  • It takes away the “guilt” of feeling like I should be doing more. I know that I’m making a positive contribution to the world, and it feels good.

Our impact on the environment

We have so many advantages, and yet we are causing most of the damage to the environment. Surely we can make this more of a priority, not only for ourselves and our children, but for people all over the world who are going to be hit the hardest by the impacts of climate change in the near future.

On a positive note, it’s encouraging to see that CO2 emissions in the US have decreased in recent years. I hope we continue to lead by example in this way.

Things to consider

How can we be more mindful of the advantages that we have in our daily lives? By noticing the small things, it takes the focus off of what we DON’T have and helps us be more grateful for all that we DO have.

How can we learn how to be happy with less? By consuming less and needing less, we make it easier to be generous with our excess of resources.

How can we design our lives and businesses to provide for our needs while also producing extra for others?