Hans Rosling, who died of pancreatic cancer 2017 February 7 at the age of 68, was professor of international health at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. He was a gifted public speaker who specialized in correcting popular misconceptions, including pessimistic ones about the Third World.
For example (as Amardeo Sarma points out in a brief article Rosling in the July/August issue of Skeptical Inquirer magazine), Rosling pointed out that it took just 30 years for the fertility rate in overpopulated Bangladesh to decline from aLmost seven children per woman to less then three. Poverty, high childhood mortality, and lack of education and family planning explained the previous high rate. And while many people think deep poverty is an intractable problem, Rosling demonstrated through hard numbers that extreme problem is in fact declining and actually can be eliminated.
Rosling's son and daughter-in-law, Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund, plan to continue his work, writing, "Hans is no longer alive, but he will always be with us and his dream of a fact-based worldview we will never let die!"
Below is one of Rosling's well-regarded TEDx Talks, this one about the drop in child mortality and the accompanying reduction in family size and population grown. For more of his talks, see https://www.ted.com/speakers/hans_rosling.
For more from this blog on the United Nations Millennium Deveopment Goals and other positive trends, see also these earlier posts:
- 2013 Surprising good news on U.S. carbon emissions
- 2014 Unexpected news about poor countries
- 2015 Believe or not, the world is getting better
- 2015 To-do list for the world
- 2016 John Green on 2016: the good parts
- 2017 A few brief reasons for optimism
And for other positive trends see this 2013 Business Insider piece by Rob Wile.