We held a Q & A about building a better world. The answers will boost your faith in humanity.

If you spend much time on social media, it may seem like the world is plagued by seemingly intractable divides. But deep down, most of us really want the same thing—a healthy planet where people get along, have enough, and work together to build a better world. Even if we disagree on how to get there, we all want to believe that a peaceful, prosperous future is possible.


At Upworthy, we believe in the power of people coming together to solve problems. That's why we've partnered with the United Nations as it commemorates 75 years of encouraging international cooperation on global issues. Since 1945, the UN has been at the forefront of finding and implementing solutions to the challenges facing humanity, bringing nearly every country on earth to the table to work toward international peace, human rights, and social progress for all. We think that's pretty awesome.

To kick off this 75th anniversary year, we wanted to hear from individuals and organizations about where humanity is at in 2020 and how we can best get to where we want to be. So we held a Twitter #UpChat and asked 10 questions about building a hopeful future. Here are the questions, along with some responses that will boost your faith that we humans, despite some inevitable fumblings, are collectively headed in the right direction.

Question 1: What's one thing that's positive about the current state of our world?

World Food Program USA shared some encouraging statistics about extreme poverty, health, access to electricity, and hunger and expressed hope for achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Teacher Will McDonough reminded us that every time a tragedy, setback, or failure happens, "there emerges a swelling tide of courageous humans willing to go to battle in the name of justice and good." Beautifully said.

Question 2: What's one thing you'd like to change about the current state of our world?

Together First responded that they would like to see "a world where diverse voices calling for change are given a seat at the global decision making table." (Here's one example of why representation matters: Peace agreements last 35% longer when women sit at the negotiating table.)

RELATED: We'll start seeing more lasting peace when women get more seats at the negotiating table.

Silvio Gonzato aptly explained the growing problem with the spread of disinformation, and called for "new normative frameworks which respect freedom of speech but guarantee access to quality information."

Question 3: What does a positive future look like to you? Are we on track?

The Better India envisioned a world "where every time we do or buy something, it turns into a positive ripple effect for the planet and its people."

And Priyanka Jaisinghani wrote, "A positive future means equal access to education, resources and opportunities. A place where girls are elevated, have the opportunity to obtain an education and learn & exercise their rights." YES. (Here's why empowering girls and women is important.)

Question 4: How can we take on climate change?

Plus Social Good laid down the basics: "We need to wake up to the fact that we are in a climate crisis. It is not time for small measures or hesitancy. It's time for big dreams and larger actions."

17-year-old Irish climate activist Saoi offered a specific goal to "reach zero emissions" as well as to "center the conversation around justice and reparations for the global south." (You can find more information about climate change and the global south here.)

Question 5: What's an action you can take (micro or macro) to better our planet?

Girls Not Brides, an organization that works to end child marriage, pointed out that you can "Raise your voice, share the facts, and support the work of activists, campaigns and organisations." Indeed, we don't have to reinvent the wheel. There are many groups working on the ground who can benefit from support and amplification, an action anyone can take.

RELATED: The UN wants to help refugees in an incredible call to action.

Alejandra got specific with her own individual actions, including eating less meat, recycling, educating people to identify and prevent slavery, and promote equality in her workplace. "Local action can ensure global progress," she wrote.

Question 6: What does the world you want to live in look like 25 years from now?

Giving Tuesday wrote, "We need to be supporting organisations that are feeding the hungry, sheltering the unsheltered, healing the wounded; but a positive future is one that uses generosity to fuel systematic + structural change so that those problems don't exist in the first place." Now there's some food for thought.

Leia Cator painted a simple but wonderful sounding future: "25 years from now, I want the world to revolve with sustainable energy, vibrant wilderness, and exciting technology discoveries."

Question 7: Out of the following five issue areas, what are you most optimistic about improving in the next 25 years? Digital world, conflict & violence, inequality, climate, or shifting populations?

Though some people responded with specific issue areas, many agreed that all five must be addressed because they are interconnected.

As StandUp for kids wrote, "If we don't address all five, we aren't likely to see meaningful improvements in any. They are rightly interconnected, and I think that creative change makers must address them all." This is why conversations like this one are vital.

Question 8: What do you hope world leaders do to engage youth in envisioning and creating the future?

The subject of youth as leaders kept coming in in answers to all of these questions, which is an encouraging sign for the future of our planet.

As World Food Program USA pointed out, youth are already "very engaged and active in causes that matter." Therefore, "leaders should listen to them, be inspired by them, work with them, and help them contribute to their communities."

Priyanka Jaisinghani also pointed out that "Our current & rising generations are demanding deeper commitment and bolder actions. Leaders need to not only include youth in conversations, but collaborate as equal partners."

Question 9: What would you like to see as an outcome from conversations between youth and global leaders?

Sarah Siraj expressed a desire for world leaders to "empathise with the youth and the anxiety they are facing about the political, social and physical climate we live in as opposed to trivialise it. The genuine intent to listen, understand and help is what I'm hoping for."

And Emmanuel Nyame brought some truth to the table, pointing out that "Young people are always engaged just for the visuals and not to use our ideas in national planning and policies," adding, "This attitude must stop! Please!"

Question 10: How can countries and people come together to create better global cooperation for our future?

"Celebrate active citizenship," wrote Conservation International. "Listen to each other, share knowledge and skills, encourage contribution, and drive action, both on a local level and globally."

And Annie Rosenthal added that listening to each other means shifting our hearing toward people instead of profiteers. "We need to start listening to working class people instead of CEOs," she wrote. "We need leaders to be courageous instead of self-interested. We need to reimagine power and change."

Reimagining power and change might just sum up the answers to all of these questions.

The global conversation is just getting started, and you can be a part of it. Share your thoughts on "achieving our shared vision for a safer, fairer and more sustainable world" by participating in a UN75 survey here.

And if you need some encouragement in lending your voice to the conversation, these young people are showing us how it's done. The future is in good hands, but we all have a role to play in shaping it.

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Some of the moments that make us smile the most have come from everyday heroes, like our hardworking teachers.

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Heather Cox Richardson didn't set out to build a fan base when she started her daily "Letters from an American." The Harvard-educated political historian and Boston College professor had actually just been stung by a yellow-jacket as she was leaving on a trip from her home in Maine to teach in Boston last fall when she wrote her first post.

Since she's allergic to bees, she decided to stay put and see how badly her body would react. With some extra time on her hands, she decided to write something on her long-neglected Facebook page. It was September of 2019, and Representative Adam Schiff had just sent a letter to the Director of National Intelligence stating that the House knew there was a whistleblower complaint, the DNI wasn't handing it over, and that wasn't legal.

"I recognized, because I'm a political historian, that this was the first time that a member of Congress had found a specific law that they were accusing a specific member of the executive branch of violating," Richardson told Bill Moyers in an interview in July. "So I thought, you know, I oughta put that down, 'cause this is a really important moment. If you knew what you were looking for, it was a big moment. So I wrote it down..."

By the time she got to Boston she has a deluge of questions from people about what she'd written.

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Here's what had happened. Evans apparently had shared a video in his Instagram stories that somehow ended with an image of his camera roll. Among the tiled photos was a picture of a penis. No idea if it was his and really don't care. Clearly, it wasn't intentional and it appears the IG story was quickly taken down.

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Harvard historian Donald Yacovone didn't set out to write the book he's writing. His plan was to write about the legacy of the antislavery movement and the rise of the Civil Rights era, but as he delved into his research, he ran into something that changed the focus of his book completely: Old school history textbooks.

Now the working title of his book is: "Teaching White Supremacy: The Textbook Battle Over Race in American History."

The first book that caught his attention was an 1832 textbook written Noah Webster—as in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary—called "History of the United States." Yacovone, a 2013 recipient of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois medal—the university's highest award for African American studies—told the Harvard Gazette about his discovery:

"In Webster's book there was next to nothing about the institution of slavery, despite the fact that it was a central American institution. There were no African Americans ever mentioned. When Webster wrote about Africans, it was extremely derogatory, which was shocking because those comments were in a textbook. What I realized from his book, and from the subsequent ones, was how they defined 'American' as white and only as white. Anything that was less than an Anglo Saxon was not a true American. The further along I got in this process, the more intensely this sentiment came out. I realized that I was looking at, there's no other word for it, white supremacy. I came across one textbook that declared on its first page, 'This is the White Man's History.' At that point, you had to be a dunce not to see what these books were teaching."

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