Don’t Panic! Hans Rosling on Population

The rising human population is one of those subjects that you will invariably hear an environmentalist discussing, often plotting a tale of inevitable woe. Population growth has implications for all sorts of sectors although, because of their direct role with the natural world, people working within or interested in the food, farming and conservation sectors are perhaps the most concerned. Population growth presents many challenges and most of these are set out on the charity Populations Matters’ website. Nonetheless, it is important to understand the facts and figures behind the hysteria. We must understand where population is increasing, where it is decreasing (yes this is happening in certain countries), where it is stable and how statisticians calculate their projections for the future if we are to form solid opinions on how to move forward. If you have a spare hour I suggest you watch the following presentation from Swedish statistician, Hans Rosling. He is a great presenter and uses some very effective technologies to present his findings.

Although I find his approach useful and very much enjoyed his analysis I cannot ignore that he focuses almost exclusively on the socio-economic elements of human population growth and largely ignores threats to wider biodiversity. This should be kept in mind when watching the lecture. Economy and human quality of life are crucial factors for forging a ‘good existence’ for future generations but to tick all the boxes on the sustainability list environment should be held up alongside economy and society.

n.b for those receiving this post in email format the link to the Rosling lecture is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FACK2knC08E

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