Facts & figures

A list of statistics is never stimulating or stirring unless we have the creative imagination, empathy and strength to live them, otherwise we can easily be overwhelmed and move back to the comfort of our own microcosms and myriad minute concerns. But we must engage with the world as it is recognising that the need to make things better is both urgent and beyond one person or even one lifetime. However that can energise rather than enervate us.

We will be collating the facts and fingers of what is improving over the life of the project.

Here are the starting points:

If we could shrink the earth to a village with a population of 100 people with all the existing ratios remaining

the same, there would be:

  • 50 children in poverty
  • 15 undernourished
  • 6 would possess 59% of the worldʼs wealth and would be from the USA
  • 48 would live on less than $2 per day
  • 7 would have a college education
  • 30 white, 70 non-white
  • 16 would have no toilet
  • 80 in substandard housing
  • 75 would have a cell phone
  • 17 who couldn’t read and write
  • 24 would have no education
  • If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world


•    The World Bankʼs latest estimates show that 1.4 billion people in developing countries were living in extreme poverty in 2005

•    Recent increases in the price of food have had a direct and adverse effect on the poor and are expected to push many more people – an estimated 100 million – into absolute poverty

•    In 2006 the number of children in developing countries who were underweight still exceeded 140 million.

•    Globally, 570 million children are enrolled in school. 73 million children of primary school age who were out of school in 2006. In that year, primary school enrolment in developing countries reached 88 per cent on average, up from 83 per cent in 2000. In sub-Saharan Africa 38 million and in Southern Asia, 18 million children of primary school age are out of school

•    Worldwide, 72 children per 1,000 under five years of age died in 2006

•    A child born in a developing country is over 13 times more likely to die within the first five years of life than a child born in an industrialised country

•    Every minute, a woman dies of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. This adds up to more than 500,000 women annually and 10 million over a generation. 99% live and die in developing countries

•    The risk of a woman dying from pregnancy-related causes during her lifetime is about 1 in 7 in Niger compared to 1 in 17,400 in Sweden

•    Every year, more than 1 million children are left motherless and vulnerable because of maternal death. Children who have lost their mothers are up to 10 times more likely to die prematurely than those who have not

•    Every day, nearly 7,500 people are infected with HIV and 5,500 die from AIDS. Globally, an estimated 33 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in 2007

•    Malaria kills over 1 million people annually, 80 per cent of whom are children under five in sub- Saharan Africa. There continue to be between 350 million and 500 million cases of malaria world-wide each year

•    1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water, and 2.5 billion lack access to basic sanitation services

•    Some 2.4 billion people live without access to modern cooking and heating services, and 1.6 billion have no access to electricity. (2) United Nationʼs Millennium Development goals 2015


ʻThe Scientific evidence is now overwhelming: climate change presents very serious global risks, and

it demands an urgent global responseʼ.

Our actions over the coming few decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and

social activity, later in the century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great

wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century. Stern Review (2008)

The Stern Review predicts a 77%-99% likelihood of 2 degree temperature change (relative to preindustrial levels) and predicts the likely outcomes of this:


•    falling crop yields in many developing regions

•    rising number of people at risk from hunger (25-60% increase in the 2080s in one study, with half the increase in Africa and West Asia)


•    significant changes in water availability, one study projects more than half a billion people suffer water shortages in the 2080s

•    small mountain glaciers disappear world-wide, potential threat to water supplies in several areas


•    coral reef ecosystems extensively and eventually irreversibly damaged

•    possible onset of collapse of part or all of Amazonian rain forest

•    large fraction of current ecosystems unable to maintain current form

•    many species face extinction (20-50% in one study)


•    rising intensity of storms, forest fires, droughts, flooding and heat waves

•    small increases in hurricane intensity lead to doubling of damage costs in the US

•    Risk of rapid climate change and major irreversible impacts

•    onset of irreversible melting of the Greenland ice sheet

Stern Review

ʻClimate change is not just a moral question: it is the moral question of the 21st century. There is one

position even more morally culpable than denial. That is to accept that itʼs happening and that its

results will be catastrophic; but to fail to take the measures needed to prevent itʼ. Monbiot (2007)


•    The worldʼs population is currently roughly 6 billion and growing by 1bn every 12-13 years.

•    the average growth rate is 1.4%, in developed countries 0.3%, and in some areas of the developing world 6 times that (World Bank - Downloadable PDF)

•    life expectancy in Malawi is 36 for men and 36 for women (6), in the UK , 77.2 and 81.5 (7)

Mental health

•    1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year

•    mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain

•    about 10% of children have a mental health problem at any one time

•    the UK has one of the highest rates of self harm in Europe at 400 per 100,000 population

•    only 1 in 10 prisoners has no mental disorder 

•    Approximately 450 million people world-wide have a mental health problem 

•    8-12% experience depression in any year. 

•    5865 people died by suicide in 2007 (a 15% decrease over 5 years)


•    money: global recession, the collapse of Lehman brothers, unemployment, bankersʼ bonuses, deflation, MPʼs expenses, an economy which doesnʼt value the true cost of materials (Goldsmith 2009).....

•    happiness: a huge interest and research base through the positive psychology movement shows that there is no correlation between material wealth and happiness. There are different views about ways to measure happiness (ONS) but there is general agreement that society isnʼt constructed to build our happiness

•    work: Sennett (1998) and Bunting (2004) both show the way in which our employers demand ever more of us. As recession bites we all do more, taking over the work of our ex-colleagues. The Blackberry on the train, the emails on holiday and yet the crisis requires Mindful leaders to go Beyond Obligation. (15)

•    technology, the exponential growth

•    the exponential pace of change

•    shifting global power and wealth, asia/china

•    the impact of capitalism on food production 

•    spiritual hunger for meaning and connection/ purpose - the existential questions, why?

•    politics: voter apathy, short-termism of democratic process


The Millennium Development Goals were reviewed in 2015 and there was some good news but still a huge way to go.