October 1, 2023

What Students Are Saying About the State of the World – The New York Times

To start the new year, we asked teenagers how optimistic they were going into 2023. Here is what they said.

“Enough with the particular doom and gloom! ” Nicholas Kristof writes in an Opinion column, “ Cheer Up! The Globe Is Better Off Than You Think. ” “Until the pandemic, I wrote an annual column arguing that the previous year was the best in human history, ” he continues. “I can’t do that this year. But I can suggest that broadly speaking, much is going right and this may still be the best time ever to be alive. ”

We asked teenagers: Are you optimistic about the state of the world? Going into 2023, all of us wanted to know what worried them plus what gave them hope. Many were swayed by Mr. Kristof’s point that we have a “cognitive bias toward bad news. ” Others remained pessimistic, particularly in the face of a warming planet. Still others believed in the power associated with humans in order to make the particular world a better place. As one student put it, “Those negatives help us keep in mind that we must work for the change we all wish to see. ”

Thank you to all those who weighed in on our writing prompts this particular week, including students from Fountain Valley High School in Fountain Valley, Calif. ; Waalwijk, the Netherlands ; and Gdansk, Poland.

Please note: Student comments have been lightly edited for length.

I would personally say that I am optimistic about the trajectory of the world rather than positive about its current state. There is the lot to be done in order to improve people’s lives and recover through events like the outbreak. However, the fact that the globe has been able to move on with perseverance after the tumultuous previous few years gives me hope for exactly where it’s going.

Sophie, Nashville

I’m optimistic that things in the world will get better. Sure the Russian-Ukraine war will be still going on and the U. S. is helping Ukrainians escape which could result in Vladimir Putin declaring war with the U. H., but it’s best to look beyond that and look at what we’ve achieved within these past couple of years. We had been able to make a vaccine during a pandemic in order to lessen the effects of the coronavirus and the multiple mutated variations. If people want us can do that will, then We believe there’s hope for settling out this potential war. Even though I am worried about Planet War 3 happening, I actually believe that things will get better just like how things went along with covid.

Colin, C. W. Baker High School

Yes, there is poverty, war, disease, and famine, but that’s always already been a reality. The world has always been in a state associated with needing to be better. It almost seems as though we’ve convinced ourselves that will the picture-perfect utopian entire world we have read about is the only planet that could allow us to bask within its beauty even if just for the minute. But there is usually always going to be suffering, that is definitely by definition life. We need in order to stop comparing our reality to that of which we’re imagining, past that, we need to look back on history and place our own society in perspective. We’ve been through entire world wars, slavery, pandemics, and so much more. But today we’re raising children in a world where you can marry that you want, vote, run your house on green energy, and vaccinate yourself plus your loved ones.

Lillian, Glenbard West High College

Having a positive thought upon the world makes it appear to be a better place. For instance, my local television only says the particular bad points about the rainstorms, and they don’t consider saying how the rainstorm could benefit the particular town. As of right now, California is in a drought, and they only focus on how bad the storm is currently, and not the way the storm could help fill reservoirs, ponds, and dried-out lakes.

Vivian, Union Middle School

I think that this world is within the best shape this has ever been. We have had massive improvements in the medical globe and in technology inside general. In the news you only see bad news because that is most important to make, but I really agree that the world is better off than most people think.

J. W. P., Netherlands, Waalwijk

We hear about news associated with awful wars and tales of destitute people in other countries despite the particular fact that will so many of us have never been in order to these places. What we don’t hear about is technological progress, the many humanitarian programs doing wonderful things, and many more incredible items in the world. What gives me and I assume others wish is primarily seeing others in their personal community being generous plus caring, making life more pleasant for everyone …

Alexander, Cary High School

I think almost everyone tends to focus on the gloom and poor things that go on within the planet instead of taking the time to celebrate the positive. We know I personally do … A person would go crazy in case they just focused on the negative things, and never took the time to see that while bad things do happen, these people aren’t as common because it may seem. Most days, you go to work or school safely, you drive home happily, and then a person get in order to spend quality time with your family. Or maybe you go to your child’s game and watch them have fun. These should be the things that are on our minds and we prioritize remembering. Because those are the times that make us who we are.

Brooke, Fountain Valley High School

I think I try my best to be optimistic about the world we live in today even though I’m limited to only knowing how it feels to live in New Mexico. I believe even in my 17 years of life, the world has come a long way especially when it comes to our rights here in America. As of recently though, the overturning of Roe v. Wade was definitely disappointing considering how far we have come as a society, the world in particular considering that climate change is really bad and the ice caps are melting. It scares me that more people don’t care about taking care of the earth because we only get one shot at it …

Gabriella, Atrisco Heritage Academy High School

This article has not changed my opinion on the state from the world. Even though it encourages a positive outlook, I still believe that the world is doomed. Climate change is the main focus of this. Climate change may have been temporarily halted by COVID. It becomes a larger problem because the increase of people on earth and increase of need for materials has caused more production and therefore more factories. Many rights are being taken away from women, and there seems to be an increase in school shootings. Civil unrest is increasing, as well as the number of school shootings happen to be increasing and are at the highest they have been in twenty years. The world might be getting better, but things are still not as good as they should be.

Bjorn, Julia R Masterman HS

My optimism regarding the state of the world dwindles more and more as the days carry on. Our climate is falling apart, tensions among countries are extremely high, prices and inflation are skyrocketing, and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. While there have been some positives happening like more people learning about climate change, more people learning to self-sustain, and some big corporations being forced to take accountability. Unfortunately, all of these steps forward don’t account for the particular steps that are taken back . While some may call this negativity, I think about it to become realistic. All of us cannot sugarcoat it anymore. Action needs to be taken, plus pretending everything is getting better is not helping.

Addison, Cambridge-Isanti Senior high school

Am I optimistic about the state of the world? Absolutely. Many argue that the world is being ruined by humans. That we as humans, are ruining the natural balance of life, ruining nature, ruining the climate. However , even if humans may have small negative effects around the above, the advantages of humans being on earth outweigh the negatives. Humans have the potential to change the world, inside a positive way. We can divert rivers to help habitats and induce premeditated burns to assist forest growth. We can change the fundamental way all of the world’s ecosystems work. Humans can and have made a positive impact on the world, and they will continue to, which is why I am optimistic about the future of the world that we call earth.

Tarun, Farmington, CT

I will be optimistic concerning the state from the world when more people stand up against the corruption, racism, climate change, injustice, and poverty that our societies face every day. If no one protests and fights against the problems we created, the world will become a very sad and lonely place. We can make the world better. It starts with ourselves. If we can change how we treat the planet like it’s just a lump of rock that we walk on every day. If we treat it like the things we need to have to live it would be so much better … If you think of how far we have come since the time of cave men, you will start to believe that we can go so much farther using only what we have right now.

Nathan, Julia R. Masterman HS, Philadelphia, PA

I must admit, when I read the enthusiastic title of this article I mentally started drafting a speech on how ‘telling the entire world that every thing is okay will make them maybe not worry about our problems anymore. ’ Even though that is a solid point, there’s more to the story. When working to end climate change, world hunger, and poverty you must keep up the “team” morale. No one will keep on to fight for something if they believe all hope is lost. Positive events can be used to provide this hope. Nevertheless , this doesn’t mean we should block out all of the negative things that happen. Those negatives help us remember that we must work with the change we desire to see.

Both the good and the bad are needed for proper motivation, if we lean too far one way or the other the motivation’s likely to be lost. As Max Rosner says in Kristof’s article, at the same time “‘The world is awful. The world is much better. The entire world can be much better. ’” Three statements which could change the world when we could find a way to believe them all at once.

Allie, Cary High School

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