7 billion lives

7 Billion ActionsIf there’s one thing that can be said about this highly connected world that we – as members of the “developed countries” – live in it is that technology has afforded us the ability to “shrink” the planet.  As recently as 20 years ago a comparatively small number of people had email addresses or used the Internet and the Web as we know it was non-existent.  If you wanted knowledge you went to a library and if you were in search of news you could pick up a newspaper or watch your local newscast.  Today there are seemingly limitless options for understanding what is going on in far flung places like Tuvalu, Malta, or Palau.  Additionally, we have a higher degree of exposure to the terrible plights that face many people in the “developing countries” such as civil war, drought, famine, and disease.

At the end of this month it is expected that the world’s population will pass the largely symbolic 7 billion mark.  Just how many people is seven billion and who are they?  The videos from National Geographic below aim to answer these questions as well as give a bit of perspective as well.

Personally I think that the most important observations from both of these videos is that we don’t need more space but rather more balance in the way that we share the world with other humans (and the rest of nature as well) and that the world is changing (and will continue to change) for the foreseeable future.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) launched an initiative called “7 Billion Actions” aimed at calling attention to the lives of these 7 billion neighbors we have on this planet.  In addition to partnering with National Geographic to produce a series about this topic (of which the videos above are a part), the UNPF is encouraging individuals to produce their own stories, music, and film to be shared as a part of a global cultural tapestry online.  The initiative is also focused on raising awareness about the global issues facing all of us.

In October 2011, Earth’s population reaches 7 billion. This global milestone is both a great opportunity and a great challenge. Although people are living longer and healthier lives, and couples worldwide are choosing to have fewer children, huge inequities persist. 

The current pace of growth is adding about 78 million more people every year – the population of Canada, Australia, Greece and Portugal combined.

Nearly all that growth – 97 of every 100 people – is occurring in less developed countries, some of which already struggle to meet their people’s needs. Gaps between rich and poor are growing. And more people than ever are vulnerable to food insecurity, water  shortages, and weather-related disasters.

Meanwhile, many rich and middle-income countries are concerned about low fertility, declining  populations and ageing. Whether we can live together on a healthy planet will depend on the decisions we make now. In a world of 7 billion people and counting, we need to count on each other.

Check out the site here: http://www.7billionactions.org/

23 thoughts on “7 billion lives

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  4. Much more intellectual honesty, moral courage and humane action is needed. We are about to become a species of 7 billion overconsumers, overproducers and overpopulaters on a finite and frangible planet where its resources are dissipating and environs degrading rapidly.

    During my lifetime, when human numbers explode from less than 3 bn to 7+ bn worldwide, many experts may not have known enough about what they were talking about when they spoke of human population dynamics and all causes of the human overpopulation of Earth. Their research appears not to be scientific, but rather issues from ideological or totalitarian thinking, or from specious group-think consensus. Their all-too-attractive thinking, as viewed by greedmongers, is willfully derived from what is politically convenient, economically expedient, socially agreeable, religiously tolerable and culturally prescribed. Widely broadcast and long-accepted thinking of a surprisingly large number of so-called experts in the field of population dynamics appears to have an unscientific foundation and is likely wrong. Their preternatural theorizing about the population dynamics of the human species appears to be both incomplete and misleading. Most disturbing of all, a widely shared and consensually validated theory about a “demographic transition” four decades from now is directly contradicted by unchallenged scientific research. As a consequence, and it is a pernicious consequence, a woefully inadequate thinking and fundamentally flawed theory was broadcast during my lifetime and continues to be broadcast everywhere by the mainstream media as if it is not only science but the best available scientific evidence. The implications of this unfortunate behavior, inasmuch as it appears to be based upon a colossal misperception of what could somehow be real regarding the human population, appear profound. This failure of nerve has slowed the momentum needed to confront a formidable, human-driven global predicament.

    In their elective mutism regarding an astonishing error, are first class professional researchers with expertise in population dynamics behaving badly by allowing the “ninety-nine percenters” to be misguided and led down a primrose path by the “one percenters”? The power of silence on the part of knowledgeable human beings with feet of clay is dangerous because research is being denied that appears to shed light upon a dark, non-recursive biological problem, the understanding of which appears vital to future human well being and environmental health. Too many experts appear to be ignoring science regarding the human population and instead consciously through their silence consenting to the leviathan scale and unbridled expansion of global overproduction, overconsumption and overpopulation activities that are being adamantly advocated and relentlessly pursued by greedmongering masters of the universe, the tiny minority among us who are primarily responsible for ravaging the Earth, ruining its environs and reducing its fitness for habitation by the children. If this assessment of human behavior is indeed a fair representation of what is happening on our watch, then the desire to preserve the status quo, mainly the selfish interests of ‘the powers that be’, could be at least one basis for so much intellectually dishonest and morally bereft behavior. Could it be that the outrageous per capita overconsumption, large-scale corporate overproduction and unrestricted overpopulation activities of the human species worldwide cannot continue much longer on a planet with the size, composition and ecology of a finite and frangible planet like Earth?

    For human beings to count human population numbers is simple, really simple. The population dynamics of human beings with feet of clay are obvious and fully comprehensible. We have allowed ourselves to be dazzled by the BS of too many demographers just the way human beings have been deceived and victimized by a multitude of economists on Wall Street. Demographers and economists are not scientists. ‘The brightest and the best’ have sold their souls to greedmongers, duped the rest of us, made it difficult to see what is real, proclaimed what is known to be knowable as unknowable, engaged in the their own brands of alchemy. In their dishonest and duplicitous efforts to please the self-proclaimed masters of the universe, also known as the keepers of the ‘golden calf’ (a symbol now easily visible as the “raging bull” on Wall Street), they perpetrate frauds at everyone else’s expense, threaten the children’s future, put life as we know it at risk, and are consciously, deliberately, actively precipitating the destruction of Earth as a fit place for human habitation. Never in the course of human events have so few taken so much from so many and left so little for others.

    There are many too many overly educated “wise guys” among us who see the blessed world we inhabit through the lens of their own hubris and selfishness, and see themselves somehow as Homo sapiens sapiens and masters of the universe, as corporate kings and emperor’s with clothes. They supposedly are the brightest and best, the smartest guys in the room, like the guy who used to run the global political economy without recognizing that there was an “ideological flaw” in his economic theories and models, the same guy who reported he could not name 5 guys smarter than himself. These are guys who have denied science, abjectly failed humanity, forsaken life as we know it, the Earth and God. These ideologues rule the world now and can best be characterized by their malignant narcissism, pathological arrogance, extreme foolishness, addiction to risk-taking and wanton greed.

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