7 Billion from National Geographic


As you might know, National Geographic makes some fantastic resources that are absolutely beautiful. 7 Billion is no exception. With dramatic music in the background and eye popping graphic messages, no one in your class will be sleeping.

Although short, the video sends a powerful message about population growth while remaining hopeful about the future of our planet. The video focuses on compelling reasons we should all care about population growth such the rapid increase in population since 1800, the future population of the earth and the development of mega-cities.

When I ask my classes to predict one potential consequence of population growth, what do you think they say? That we will run out of space, of course! 7 Billion is a lot of people after all. However, the video helps people to understand that space is not the issue. In fact, we could fit the entire population of the world into the city of Los Angeles (standing shoulder to shoulder). The negative effects of population growth are not evenly distributed throughout the globe. As it states in the video about 5% of us consume 23% of the world’s energy and 13% of us don’t have access to clean drinking water.

A population of over 7 billion people creates issues for our planet, but we also have 7 billion potential innovators, problem solvers and humanitarians to help us create a more equitable world for all 7 billion of us.

Teaching Tips

  • Let your students innovate. Have them create a plan to help solve some of the problems that come with population growth.
  • Have students research countries with rapid rates of population growth and discuss how to solve some of the problems related to population growth.
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