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Reflections on 2016 Global Citizen Festival Week — Through the Impact Looking Glass

This year, I had the privilege of attending Global Citizen Festival rather than working it remotely, or watching from afar with my newborn son. Which meant that I was able to chat with some of the NYPD Counter Terrorist and NYC Fire Department paramedics on site, to explain a bit about the difference that Festival makes for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people by the actions taken by Global Citizens and the resulting commitments and announcements made on our stage.

When I explained to those uniformed officers that if those announcements stayed on script and as promised to us in advance, we would be reaching 199 million people with $1.9 billion, they were in awe. “I knew Global Citizen was cool,” one of them replied, “but I had no idea it was that cool”.

So let’s take a look through the impact looking glass to try to get perspective on what some of our enormous impact numbers mean…

Global Citizens took 1.3 million actions in the lead up to Festival.  This is like:

  • The number of words in the first English-language translation of German Classic “Bottom’s Dream” - taking up 1,496 pages and with its 14-inch spine, it weighs as much as a bowling ball.
  • The number of crowd controlling pellets used by Kashmiri armed forces in August this year.
  • The anticipated population of Atlanta in 2050.
  • The number of people who packed into Cleveland to watch the Cavaliers Parade on June 22nd this year.

44 commitments and announcements took place on Global Citizen platforms during the week of festival. This is like:

  • 5.5 times the number of new federal laws made in the United States in 2015.
  • 46 percent of all the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speeches delivered since 1915 - but all in one week.
  • The number of items of clothing the average woman packs to go on vacation - but only wear half of them, says the Daily Mail.

These commitments and announcements are valued by Global Citizen at $1.9 billion. This is like:

  • The amount requested from Congress in February 2016 in emergency funding to support the full range of activities needed to prevent, detect, and respond to the Zika virus.
  • The amount CNN reported earlier this month that Harvard’s endowment value fell this year - from $37.6 billion to $35.7 billion.
  • The current estimated cost of the new Las Vegas Oakland Raiders stadium.
  • The value of General Electric’s contract to supply steam turbines, generators and other equipment to Hinkley Point C, Britain’s first new nuclear plant in decades.

By the issue:

For Girls & Women:

  • 195,650 actions is like… the average number of sanitary products used annually by just 815 women.
  • $300 million dollars is …  less than 10 percent of the amount spent on lip stick annually in the United States.
  • Reaching 240,000 people is like… reaching nearly 8 percent of the Girl Guides of America.

On Education:

  • 356,054 actions is like… reaching 10 percent of the number of kids expected to graduate from high school with their diploma in America this year.
  • Reaching 270,000 people is like… 12,500 average sized US primary school classes with 21.6 children in it.

On Food & Hunger

  • 193,943 actions is … almost twice the number of customers in Walmart each week.
  • Reaching 4 million lives is like… you eating a nutritious meal and not going hungry for 10,958 years.

On Water & Sanitation

  • 246,472 actions is like… the average person’s number of visits to the bathroom for 96.5 years.
  • Reaching 114 million people is like… reaching 0.56 percent of  average water bottles users in the United States last year, who each used 167 disposable water bottles.

On Health

  • 299,427 actions is like… 2.7 per cent of the number of New York City’s 911 calls made annually.
  • Reaching 79.9 million people is like… reaching 93 percent of all the children in the United States with vaccines, or the same for more than the entire population of Democratic Republic of Congo today, currently ranking the world’s 18th most populated country.