In November 2022, the UN announced that the global population had reached 8 billion.
“The milestone is an occasion to celebrate diversity and advancements while considering humanity's shared responsibility for the planet” commented Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, 2022.
But 8 billion people is one of those numbers that is hard to get your head around – almost impossible to quantify, imagine, and process.
Certain sections of the global media provided some context: “Billions of people are struggling, hundreds of millions are facing hunger and even famine. Record numbers are on the move seeking opportunities and relief from debt and hardship, wars and climate disasters”, USA Today. Or “Earth now has 8 billion people – and counting. Where do we go from here?”, National Geographic.
You can’t help but question what type of world we are bringing the 8 billionth member of the population into.
To remind us all that this figure should feel more like a milestone, and less like a potential millstone around the neck of society, the UN created a piece of content so simple, so powerful and so enriching that it turned 8 billion from a problem into a possibility.
Called “8 Billion Strong – infinite possibilities for people and planet” the film sets out its direction from the very beginning, showing how 8 billion people can lead to endless positive outcomes.
The film starts with a timeline marking population growth with human endeavour, from the first cave paintings to space travel, and we are reminded that a growing population leads to leaps forward. The film then slowly builds its story using more personal images – a woman in her 3rd trimester of pregnancy, to society, with a busy road junction of pedestrians and traffic, to a more global visual with a picture of the earth to show how we can easily accommodate 8 billion people – as long as we are respectful.
We are reminded, in very simple language, of our duty of care to one another and the planet “allowing our planet to support a growing population.”
It's hard not to watch this film and not see the infinite possibilities that 8 billion people could create – a truly wonderous piece of storytelling.
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