This year marked a first for me. I learned about a major event happening in another country via Twitter instead of from a television or radio news announcement. Getting the information on my phone, less than an hour after the crisis started, made me realize how fast world news reaches us today. Compare that to a catastrophe occurring a hundred years ago. For example, if an earthquake hit a remote region of China in 1915, it wasn’t likely that anyone outside of that country would hear about it. The news might not have even made it out of the impacted region.
When bad news travelled slowly or not at all, it was easier to feel comfortable that all was well. Tragic events happening close to home were usually few and far between, which if you think about it is actually still the case. What’s different is that every world event can come into our homes at amazing speed. An earthquake in one country, a terrorist attack in another, drought on another continent—we may hear it all in a single newscast. At best, it’s unsettling. At worst, it depresses a person’s spirit.
We are now world neighbors. There’s no escaping the fact. And we need to start living and thinking that way. In some ways we have, such as when we donate to relief efforts. In other ways we haven’t. You can find plenty of examples of people being bad neighbors in much of the politically charged rhetoric being espoused today.
Technology and economics made us neighbors. I believe it can help us become good neighbors and even friends. Technology makes it conceivable that my wish at the end of this blog could actually reach people worldwide. It’s a hope. It’s a start.
To my world neighbors, as we end this year and begin a new one, I wish you peace, goodwill, and safety for all our days together on this planet Earth.