Remarkable feats of cooperation

People generally make me hopeful, because of our immense capacity to cooperate.

Many, if not all, of the things that have improved our quality of life rely on exactly this capacity.

I'm optimistic for the future because the means to cooperate are increasingly becoming better. From tools to translate languages so that we can understand each other, to tools that allow us to share information instantly and globally.

Of course it's arguable that these tools can disrupt cooperation, however I believe more often than not they are being used to enhance it, especially when we've needed it most. These cooperative moments are often smaller and get less attention than their disruptive counterparts but they exist

A few examples of remarkable moments of cooperation that I think deserve attention.

The Covid-19 vaccines

The speed at which these were created, using technology and data that itself required cooperation on a global scale is remarkable. Two great articles which explore the depth of cooperation are on the Guardian and Nature.

To go from the discovery of a deadly new virus to the creation of a tested vaccine that can block its effects in less than a year is unprecedented in scientific history.

The healing of the Ozone layer

Did you know in 2019, the UNEP announced that the world was on track to have completely healed it's Ozone layer? This good result is with thanks to the Montreal Protocol and the cooperation undertaken by all the parties involved.

The Montreal Protocol is, to date, the only UN treaty to be adopted by all Member States, with all parties sharing responsibilities relating to phasing out ozone-depleting substances, controlled trade of such substances, annual data reporting and other matters.

The Apollo program and the Moon landings

The level of cooperation required across domains, teams and competing constraints to achieve the missions make for fantastic reading, some of which is covered in the Apollo Experience.

It may turn out that [the space program’s] most valuable spin-off of all will be human rather than technological: better knowledge of how to plan, coordinate, and monitor the multitudinous and varied activities of the organizations required to accomplish great social undertakings.

Overall, feats like these make me hopeful for our shared future.

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Posted under / societyshortculture

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