Don't Panic: The Truth About Population

Don't Panic: The Truth About Population

2013, Society  -   104 Comments
Ratings: 8.31/10 from 372 users.

We live in a world of relentless change. Huge migrations of people to new mega-cities filling soaring skyscrapers and vast slums, ravenous appetites for fuel and food, unpredictable climate change... and all this in a world where the population is still growing. Should we be worried, should we be scared, and how to make sense of it all?

Seven billion people now live on this planet of ours. Isn't it beautiful? When some people think about the world and its future they panic, others prefer not to think about it at all, bit in this documentary Professor Hans Rosling will show you how things really are.

Rosling is statistician and he'll show you the world in a new way. He'll tell you how world's population is changing and what today's data tell us about the future of the world we live in. We undeniably face huge challenges, but the good news is that the future may not be quite as gloom and that mankind already is doing better than many of you think.

Many people think population growth is out of control, some even talk about the population bomb, but are they right? Most of the population growth in recent years has been in Asian countries, like in Bangladesh, where the population has tripled during Rosling's lifetime from 50 to more than a 150 million. It's now one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

However people in Bangladesh, whether in the city or the countryside, are intensely concerned about the size of families. There is a cultural shift away from big families and there is actual success in reducing the fertility rate, which is the number of babies born per woman. In just 40 years Bangladesh has gone from 7 to 2.2 children per family. But is it only in Bangladesh? According to the Rosling's stats the trend is worldwide. In 1963, the average number of babies born per woman in the world was 5... and today the average is 2.5.

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2 years ago

Can a similiar survey be done for Africa which seems to be the new boom area currently?

2 years ago

Many nations, according Mr Rosling are with 2 children policy. However the total number of humanity population is exploding. No credit to this senseless opinion.

Jan van westland
3 years ago

Less babies. More older people. It will still increase. It will only take a little longer before the bombs go off. And let's be honest. Even with today's population we are already destroying the earth's flora and fauna.

3 years ago

This is my school work because I'm not at school all cause of coronavirus but I think it is pretty intresting.

4 years ago

Agenda driven Ignorance of reality by Indoctrinated Misinformation via Emotionalism is what passes for the education system.

Just because someone, whoever they may be, states that the planet has X billion people on it does NOT mean it is so. Prove it. The usa only has 1/3 bln. From what little I've seen of Europe, it doesn't seem like people are crawling over one another either.

The West is not growing unsustainably. China canned its 1 child policy. It would seem there is more to the story than the propagandists would like you to believe, in order to get you to give over your authority to them.

5 years ago

Mr. Rosling spends less than 5 minutes at the end of this presentation regarding the consequences to the environment by the addition of billions of new, upwardly mobile consumers. He practically ignores the environmental collapse that this planet experiencing right now. Simply astonishing. Humans are a virus on this planet without any predators except ourselves. It is as simple as that.

Jay Steff
5 years ago

no Panic!

Logan van der Togan
5 years ago

1) The explosion has been entirely in Other-The-White nations since 1960, in most cases, 3-5x, and THAT is the casue of THIER poverty - not the White Man. - so get that straight.

2) The standard of living in THOSE places are low to begin with - they don't enjoy steak and potatoes like we do - and, in general, they are scronny little people, alive, but scronny, and many are none too pretty because they are so 'minimally nourished'.

3) Increasingly polluted oceans and soils. The catastrophic affects of those ecosystems failing entirely has not been seen (much) yet, but when they reach their respective critical mass, the ppm, or parts per million, that is, the threshold concentration of pollutants that will relatively instantly cause total and widespread failure of fisheries and farms ... then you will understand why 7 billion, soon 8 billion, and so on, is nothing less than insanity.

4) Intellectual Gene Pool - how large is enough to produce 'inltellect'. Just consider that Bill Gates, Eisntein, Tesla, and modern-day Tesla, Elon Musk, etc., etc., etc, were all born when there was less than 3 billion on this planet. We do NOT need 7 billion people to have a large enough green pool to produce genius - the VAST majority of technology we have today was produced by people born before 1960, when there was only 3 billion of us - these inventers are only beginning to retire - they are not even 60 years old yet, so, yeah, people born before 1960 mostly created the modern world today, not the millennials who are barely graduating from university.

5) Senility - It happens.

mellow yellow
5 years ago

and Vietnamese they be chill

mellow yellow
5 years ago

keep calm and stay asian

6 years ago

Why will there be 3 billion more adults by the end of century? I don't understand this.

7 years ago

Very engaging program. The professor was interesting throughout.

8 years ago

I could not bring myself around to watching a talking head spew his numbers.

Bottom line. Is there ever going to be a day for 1 child worldwide policy discussion?

If not, prepare your children for WAR. No other choice.

Unless we EACH begin to understand GREED. and shame its CRIMINALITY......we are doomed.

Watch (surviving progress) for some sanity.

8 years ago

There is no such thing as poor country.There are countries kept in dark by corporations and banks (implicitly by the governments of rich counties). And the first step in finding a solution to poverty is the abolition of Fiat money.

9 years ago

I'm impressed with the work this man has done. For those that can only find issues with his work, maybe if you take a back seat and watch it a second time. He is the first I've seen that has taken the time to analyze the numbers and put them into simple terms for all to understand. He's not pointing fingers at anyone, just showing where we are and where we are headed. He shows both the positive and the negatives with hope for all. After watching his program, my thought is that if only we could all help by providing bicycles to those who are the poorest, the world could be a better place. I find that its sad that something so simple and affordable to most of us could help so many. I applaud his work and thank him for sending his message to the rest of us. Why anyone would take issue with a few graphs and numbers is beyond me. The message is what is important. I doubt that even half of those who are critical of a few graphs and numbers have even a fraction of this mans education and experience. If a bicycle could improve the lives in the poorest of the poor, its sad that we are buying them faster than we eat M&M's. In fact, I doubt these poor have even seen an M & M! Why take issue with the numbers, when it's the message this man has to offer? This is an outstanding documentary with a great message. Thanks

9 years ago

If this man is a statistician he should be struck off. Almost every graph has been misinterpreted. At first I thought I'd clicked the wrong link, as I wanted to watch the perfect vagina. I soon realized the link was correct. What a c**t!

Hardik Panjwani
9 years ago

Broadly there are two issues here:

1) Tackling the problems related to population growth is certainly possible technologically. It would require having sensible policies on energy, food, economics, etc working in tandem on a global scale. I don't see how that could happen within the current system of globalization that is highly predatory without major shakeups in economic theory and geopolitical power structure.

2) Stats are always dangerous. Its always possible to play with data to get it roughly pointing towards where you want it to point.

Overall I think that the problem is acute enough even if there is hyperbole around it largely because of the dual difficulties of softening the predatory nature of globalization and getting appropriate polices into place.

9 years ago

Excellent presentation. Please watch. You will not be disapointed.

Frank Kling
9 years ago

I would like to share a revelation I had during my time among
the human race. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I realized
that you are not true mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively
develops a natural equilibrium- a symbiotic relationship- with the surrounding
environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area and replicate without
any natural limits to population growth until every natural resource is
consumed and all other life is extinguished. There is another organism on this
planet that follows the same destructive pattern- a virus. Human beings are a
pernicious disease- a metastasizing cancer of the Earth. You are a plague and
we are the cure.~~The Matrix

9 years ago

The future population is unpredictable. Currently, the earth is being poisoning daily by the hundreds of tons of highly radioactive water seeping out of Fukushima into the sea with no end in sight. This seepage contains very long lived radionuclides (cesium, strontium, etc.) that are being bio-magnified (because they are similar to potassium and calcium - like a wolf in sheep's clothing) into the entire earth's ecosystem. Everyone and everything is slowly
being poisoned, the very, very, very rich and their offspring will be
affected yet they are doing nothing. Why? This matter is urgent for the planet. It doesn't matter if you are pro or anti nuclear. The mainstream media no longer reports it, the Japanese Gov't have recently made it a criminal offense to release information about it, Tepco who is still in charge of Fukushima is a for profit organization running the cleanup on a shoestring (eg. allowing the Yakusa (mafia) to employ homeless men for very little wages) have proven themselves entirely inept and compulsive lairs, people are being financially forced to move back into highly radioactive areas, govts are not monitoring the levels of radioactivity in the ocean or the food, acceptable radiation levels are being raised to unacceptable levels. There are more than a thousand tanks on site storing an incredibly massive amount of highly radioactive water all of
which could and probably would burst or leak during the next large
inevitable earthquake. The various atomic agencies and the Japanese govt want to dump it into the ocean since they realize that they cannot keep building thousands of tanks on site. Their proposed ALPS filtering system has failed and even if it did work would still not remove all the radiation from the water before it is to be released into the ocean. Dilution is not the solution because these radionuclides don't dilute. There is no end in sight with no technology or proven plan to stop the site from bleeding poison into the environment forever. Of the four nuclear power plants Unit 4 is still at risk of toppling over during the next big quake causing a huge release of radioactivity. They have to manually remove 1500 damaged fuel rods (200 of these are unused and especially hot) which is fraught with danger of a major accident. Unit 3's spent fuel pool is so badly damaged that it is probably impossible to ever empty it and requiring constant cooling for decades to come. All the while three nuclear cores have melted through their containment's into their building's basements that are coming into direct contact with hundreds of tons of underground water from the nearby mountain seeping through cracks in the building caused by the earthquake which is then flowing out to sea uninhibited. Their intended underground ice-wall which is many years away has never been tried on such a large scale and there are many unknowns. Why doesn't every nation in the world (and the few very, very, very rich) drop what they are doing and make a concerted effort to stop this genocide of the planet? (Go to the Fairewinds website for reliable up to date information).

9 years ago

....Yep, a planet only this size with 7 billion people and growing, a recipe for disaster.

9 years ago

Perhaps some of the "naked apes" (Desmond Moriis' moniker for homo sapiens) believe there is no cause for immediate panic, but what about every other living thing, and the biosphere itself?
I encourage anyone that thinks current (or near future) population numbers are "sustainable" to read The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, A Short History Of Progress by Ronald Wright and Countdown by Alan Weisman. Reading them should wipe the smug smile off the face of human achievement (unless you are of the "Dominian of man over nature" religious folk) and sober up the deniers. The gross overpopulation of the planet by the ultimate invasive species is as real as the holocaust was.

Moncy Varghese
9 years ago

Whatever may be the statistics we the greedy population consume all the natural resources available within few years.
Then there will be a rebirth.

anna miller
9 years ago

too little, too late. There is a price to pay for refusing to acknowledge the obvious.

9 years ago

There are plenty of researchers who are publishing findings now that the United States, Europe and Russia have slowed down population growth. Asia/India region and Africa are the 2 continents that are still rising sharply. Education and medical advancement on these two extremely poor continents would help their situation.

Gwayne Li
9 years ago

and to people addressing the graphs, saying that ''wealth inequality has diminished somewhat''

You have to read the graph carefully. The area below the curve do not show wealth distribution, but people and wages. Therefore the extremely wealthy do not show their wealth, rather their number of population. Now I'd like to see capital wealth in% Capital wealth on the Y axis, Population in the X axis..

Gwayne Li
9 years ago

He just didn'T take into consideration a few very important factors,
which is the ecological impact. I'm not referring to ''CO2'' or carbon
emissions, which is another matter altogether that goes in line with
energy consumption.

Rather, i'm talking about Food. How can we
sustain food industry in the case of 11 billions? Farm yields? crop and
soil empoverishment, overfishing and fish collapse. 11 billions mouths
to feed. I just don't quite see that happen in the way we look at
things, at least not in the conventional way of consumption.

some personal experiences and anecdotes as basis for a global argument
is quite numbing. Yes probably, and many and more specialists do say 11
billions is the human peak population. Now how to manage it ? there's nothing optimistic to feel jolly about, despite the ''lighthearted animations'' he used. IT's not optimistic. a self-righteous, feel good argument might help you sleep well, but it ain't gonna help you think about the problem.

9 years ago

Always interested in another presentation by Hans Rosling, offering an alternative view to what many of us consider common knowledge, like the one over at TED where he tackled the perception that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer (on a global view).

9 years ago

Well, Rosting may describe himself as a 'possibliist' but he is after all an idealist. And we need another billion idealists like him. It's so easy to be cynical, to hate everything, to rant and be Machiavellian (I know that indulgence well). Everyone loves a tragic ending- just look at the Bible.
I'll go ahead and blow and my own horn- I got all the quiz questions about birth rates and literacy right. But I also live in a country (PRC) that has a lot of poverty and I have been to the 'poorest parts' of that country. The neighborhood in which I live is grotty and overcrowded. But it's not so poor after all. Surprise.
The best thing for the world would be if we human beings were all more or less prosperous, and more or less equally so. Because becoming richer and richer has swift diminishing returns, and unbridled consumption is a social neurosis. And what is hard about that for people to understand? It's as though the idea of a rising developing world is threatening, that whole continents must be remained mired in poverty, ignorance, and tragedy. It's a post-imperial mentality that excludes a world of give and take, of economic compromise.
So if we eventually don't blow ourselves up with nuclear weapons, we'll have a lot of challenges ahead. With billions of creative young minds around, there should be plenty of possibilities of solutions to the problems facing our future planet. I say get on it- and whistle while you work.

9 years ago

Ah yes, statistics. They are a marvelous, curious thing. Pretty much whatever your point, it can be proven through statistics. Providing of course how those statistics are researched, bent & presented in your argument.

This looks like it's going to be an entertaining & interesting view full of information & well, err, statistics. I eagerly look forward to this. The fellow presenting/narrating this film reminds me of the doctor (name escapes me) who presented the incredible & wonderfully informative series of videos on dissection of actual human cadavers. Very insightful & that fellow was also very dedicated to sharing his knowledge in an enthusiastic way just as this man appears to be.

9 years ago

The real problem is the notion of infinite growth on a finite planet. The fact that we have been encouraged to consume at such an excessive rate for so long, and continue to do so. You know there is a problem when 8yr old kids are demanding smart phones & iPads. All these shinny new items come at cost, especially in a throw away society.

George Carlin once said two quotes that stuck with me, "where do we get are values from?" And "people don't care about the environment, all they care about is a clean place to live"

Also how are so many people going to live comfortable with rising sea levels?

9 years ago

Anyone with half a brain knows the very, very wealthy of the world must be concerned about future mayhem caused by over population. And these folks aren't simply thinking 25 or 50 years ahead, but more like 100 or 200 years ahead. So how can they begin the process of speeding up the elimination of billions of people down to a manageable level where their power and wealth is not threatened by mass revolt?
Repressive regimes never work in the long haul because people finally reach a stage where rational thought and safety don't matter anymore.
So how can it be accomplished in such a way that we "just don't get it" and therefore blithely go through our daily lives unaware of the conspiracy?
Well, for one thing, it must be subtle, stealthy and over the long haul, without any visible connection to what's really going on.
Secondly, there can be no visible violence by any government through military, security or police intervention.
Thirdly, there must be absolutely no connection to the source and those involved.
So how will they do it?
They will do it over four or five generations (or more) through the application of GMO foods, air, soil and water pollution and all the myriad of chemicals used in the agriculture and food industry.
I believe it's already happening. The obesity problem in western society is rapidly becoming acute with all the associated health problems and the costs involved. Our government health regulators are turning a blind eye and simply caving in to Big Pharma, Big Ag and the processed food industry. New research outside the influence of Monsanto, Dupont and others has proven that GMO foods are far more dangerous than originally believed.

Anyway, that's my rant. Whether you believe it or not is not my concern because I'm 80 years old and I'm simply going to hunker down, do some fishing and gardening once in awhile and probably croak in the next few years.
Enjoy while you can.

Dan Courtney
9 years ago

Very good documentary. It's great to see that population will level off, although at the end of the presentation there is at least some acknowledgement that we have already exceeded the capacity of the planet. The challenge is to help the wealthiest understand that it is in their interest to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions. Considering that there is a well funded effort to keep people ignorant of their own best interests, this will be a huge challenge.

9 years ago

This is silly with the sound effects and animation. I can't stand it anymore, even though I would be curious to hear how the zero-population crowd proposes to provide shelter, health care, and nutrition to the elderly in less developed countries without reliance on the income and contributions of their families' offspring.

9 years ago

I like docs that debunk the de-bunkers, like "here comes the sun". Remember that guy that started to cry about the world hitting peak oil? LMAO.

9 years ago

This is a very interesting documentary. It's very nice to see someone offering these kinds of arguments about overpopulation (which in my view will be our downfall, as a species) when I've only hear the other side of the story: "we are overpopulating our planet and we need to stop". But I will take it with a grain of salt, like any other information and filter it through my own knowledge and experience, as I advice you to do as well.
His arguments are very convincing and calming, but something didn't fit for me in his arguments about the planet being able to sustain 11 bilion people. I, in my opinion, think that it can't. The amount of energy required for 11 bilion to live on this planet is huge, and if we make it till 11, it'll be tough. Already dams are suffocating many rivers and flooding terrains, solar panels aren't enough, wind turbines require a lot of space, harvesting the energy of the waves is very expensive and fossil fuels...we keep talking about how we'll run out of them. So then I'm asking: how can we survive in a world with 4 billion more people when food shortages are hitting closer to "home", like in the US, riots are breaking because personal and conflicting views, species are dying never to be reborn and the gap between the civilized and the poor will deepen because it's beneficial for the rich to keep the work-class where it is, heat waves and many other problems are stretching us already like a rubber band, how long 'till we break?
Overpopulation is not only a problem for the environment, but it's also a problem for society.

9 years ago

This guy is r*tarded we need less than 3 billion for all people on this world to live the modern day life yet he seems to think that 11 billion can exist perfectly happy in a average american life style and there is no need to worry. He said himself that the top 1 billion produce 50% of total fossil fuel use yet no problem if everyone on the world does the same lol. He also left out alot of information like how many children are born to single mothers / abandoned at birth, or that agribusiness produces way more fossil fuel emissions than personal transportation. this documentary further proves to me that we are in big trouble the next 100 years is going to be rough.

James Hunt
9 years ago

One of the best presentations I have ever see!

9 years ago

what is the patch on the baby at 2 min? a removable chip card?

9 years ago

That was fairly enlightening. Good timing considering we recently had the "No sex please, We're Japanese" doc added which looks at the population issue from another angle. I'm on to you TDF, I know your game :P

9 years ago

This is pretty delusional. We're already rapidly depleting the health of the planet so dropping the first world's level of consumption just enough for the total consumption of all humans to remain the same as the third world increases their consumption is not good enough. It's the total human consumption that has to change, and drastically. If anyone wants statistics that actually matter look into the amount of people per acre that can be sustained with permaculture gardens (not just food but also building materials, clothing, firewood, etc.), the number of acres we can use without further encroaching on what little nature is left (basically just existing farmland, lawns, etc.) and how many people are actually considering living that way. No high-tech "green" technologies will ever be able to sustain more than self-sufficient eco-village type settlements can, and even with that lifestyle our current population size is questionable. We absolutely should be worried right now.

9 years ago

damn that guy saved 2 years just to buy a bicycle :-(

9 years ago

To be honest, I was incorrect about the charts shown too.

A great presentation, really informative. Proving that the world isn't doing that bad.