We, all people, are great apes. And yes that includes you reading this post. Large, tailless, and hairy, we roam the land using our opposable thumbs to do elaborate behaviors and showing off our pretentiously big heads. We great apes are truly amazing creatures, with complex social systems and often incredible cognitive capabilities. And our marvelous and extraordinary family just got bigger. In the lofty mountain forests of Sumatra, Indonesia, a unique species of great ape identified as the Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) has been discovered.
One of the greatest challenges facing our growing population is how we will feed 10 billion people. As our global family expands by 30 percent in just a little over 30 years, experts expect we will need to double our food production if we are to accommodate both the growing number of people and their changing diets. At the same time, climate change is beginning to affect every aspect of food production, creating a lot of uncertainty about the world’s ability to meet future food needs.
Videos are a powerful tool and one that young people are using more and more to make their voices heard. Recently, youths across the world used film to grapple with some tough questions: Does population growth matter? Should we care that over 7 billion people share the Earth and its resources?
Last week Thursday was the deadline to submit a video to this year’s World of 7 Billion student video contest. The contest challenged students to demonstrate a connection between world population growth with one global challenge – deforestation, water scarcity or public health – and come up with a sustainable solution all in a 60-second video.
Every day, all over the world, ordinary people are dreaming up solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing our planet. From technologies such as LifeStraw (a small water filtration device) to programs like American Forests’ Global ReLeaf Program (a tree re-planting program) – we’re constantly coming up with ideas to mitigate human impact on our planet. Here are a few of our favorite solutions to this year’s World of 7 Billion contest challenges:
Sustainable Solution to Deforestation:
As our human population continues to grow, one of our vital resources—Earth’s forests—continues to decline. It’s estimated that about 36 football field’s worth of forests are lost every minute due to logging, clear cutting, climate change, and forest fires.
The Climate Summit (COP21), now underway in Paris, presents a fantastic teachable moment for engaging students on the science, math and social studies behind climate issues. In his news conference today, President Obama referred to climate change as a “generational issue” and your students comprise the generation that will be most affected by the decisions made over the next two weeks.
The next Steven Spielberg or Sophia Coppola might be sitting in a seventh grade classroom today, dreaming up ways to put their visions on screen. With that in mind, we have opened up our annual student video contest to middle school grades for the first time.
Counting to 3 Trillion: One Study Reveals an Important Link Between Human Population Growth and Declining Tree Density