There’s no denying that we’re living in tumultuous times. But as the guest editor of a new special issue of TIME aptly called “The Optimists,” Bill Gates explains why he has hope for the future.

In his piece on why he chose to guest edit the new issue, Gates writes that “on the whole, the world is getting better. This is not some naively optimistic view; it’s backed by data.” He writes that he wants the issue to serve as a “crash course in why and how the world is improving,” to inspire people to keep making positive changes in the world and “channel your energy into driving even more progress.”

Gates isn’t alone in sharing his optimistic outlook. The issue also features notable names like Warren Buffett, Malala Yousafzai, Trevor Noah, Laurene Powell Jobs and John Lewis contributing to the conversation.

If you find yourself wondering what exactly there is to be optimistic about today, Gates provides a pretty inspiring list:

“In 1990, more than a third of the global population lived in extreme poverty; today only about a tenth do. A century ago, it was legal to be gay in about 20 countries; today it’s legal in over 100 countries. Women are gaining political power and now make up more than a fifth of members of national parliaments—and the world is finally starting to listen when women speak up about sexual assault. More than 90% of all children in the world attend primary school. In the U.S., you are far less likely to die on the job or in a car than your grandparents were. And so on.”

Read more from the TIME’s “The Optimists” special issue here