If 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/
- UN suggests there will be 7 billion people on Earth by the end of October (100gf.wordpress.com)
- World population set to reach 7 billion mark this month (theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com)
- Challenges loom as world population hits 7 billion (sfgate.com)
- Challenges Loom as World Population Hits 7 Billion (abcnews.go.com)
- With 7 billion on earth, a huge task before us (cnn.com)