As a “population educator,” I’m often asked to recommend a book on population – one that’s for a general audience (including high school students), covers lots of facets of the issues in an interesting way (environmental impacts, social trends), not just a litany of statistics, and balances often-sobering facts with hope for the future. A tall order? Absolutely, and I’m often at a loss for such a book to suggest. Not anymore.
We all know that living things need resources in order to survive. We often, however, don’t make the connection that the amount of available resources dictates the size of a population – that a population will grow when resources are in surplus, decline when resources are scarce, and stabilize when the population is at the maximum level that can be sustained.
The Washington DC metro-area is the 7th largest in the US; it is consistently ranked as one of the most congested areas in the country and has the daily traffic jams to prove it.
This past weekend, I was lucky enough to be a part of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) conference taking place here in Washington. I presented a bright and early 8 am session titled, “Hands-on Activities for Global Citizenship in the Primary Classroom,” and was fortunate to find myself spending 90 minutes with a wonderful group of early-education, early-risers.
Imagine that you lived in a small island nation in the South Pacific, like Nauru or Vanuatu. For you, the regular reports about Arctic ice melt, sea level rise and more violent storms from global warming hit home – predictions show your island under water in the not-too-distant future.
Now think about the resentment you might feel to the large, industrialized nations that contribute the most to your island’s bleak future. How is it right that your people, with such a small carbon footprint, have to endure the consequences of the heavy carbon use on the rest of the planet?
With so many Population Ed materials on-line and at your fingertips, you might wonder what you and your fellow educators would gain from participating in one of our in-service workshops? In short, you’ll walk away with a highly in-depth knowledge of how to teach population concepts for your specific student group, an understanding that can be hard to glean from a printed pdf. Not to mention a wealth of new resources.
The World Population Video is one of our signature teaching tools, simulating the history of population growth over the past two millennia and projecting growth into the near future. White dots appear on a map of the world, each representing clusters of 1 million people. The map begins in year 1 C.E. and moves forward in time to the year 2030. As time ticks by, more and more dots are added to the map; what started with roughly 150 dots in 1 C.E. ends with over 8,000 (i.e., 8 billion people) in the year 2030.