… is from page 328 of Bjorn Lomborg’s still-indispensable data-rich 2001 volume, The Skeptical Environmentalist :
[Al] Gore’s Litany about “a dysfunctional civilization” and the loss of a “direct experience with real life” reveals both a scary idealization of our past and an abysmal arrogance towards the developing countries of the world.
The fact is, as we have seen, that this [industrial] civilization has over the last 400 years brought us fantastic and continued progress. Through most of the couple of million years we have been on the planet we had a life expectancy of about 20-30 years. During the course of the past century we have more than doubled our life expectancy, to 67 years.
Infants no longer die like flies – it is no longer every other child that dies but one in twenty, and the mortality rate is still falling. We are no longer almost chronically ill, our breath stinking of rotting teeth, with festering sores, eczema, scabs, and supperating boils. We have far more to eat – despite the fact that the Earth is home to far more people: the average inhabitant in the Third World now has 38 percent more calories.