Don`T Panic: The Truth About Population 


In our environmental science class, one topic that we discussed is about the population in an environment. In line with this, we were given a chance to watch a documentary film entitled “Don't Panic: The Truth About Population”. It was a documentary film about human overpopulation that was presented by the statistician Hans Rosling. The documentary combines a lecture by Rosling who presents an 'as live' studio event featuring 3D infographics in front of him, with film sequences featuring exemplary stories in different regions in the world. It also showed a different picture of the world that developed and improved for the better. Rosling starterd the documentary by explaining that during the year 10, 000 BC when the first people became farmers, the archaeologists estimated that the world population was only 10 million.

As the great empire emerged like Egypt, China, India, and Europe the population continue to grow slowly until it reached 1 billion on 1800 and 7 billion during 2000. Population growth was very small up to the year 1800 and most have the world’s population has been added in the last 60 years. In the film there is a worker named Taslima who go to the different poor rural areas to give contraceptives and advice on how women will deal with their husband. Taslima is from Bangladesh, where the life expectancy increased from less than 50 years in 1972 to over 70, and the number of children per woman went down from seven to 2. 2 in average. It is after the independence of Bangladesh where the life span of the babies became longer while the number of babies in a family got fewer. In a documentary, Rosling stated that this number is representative worldwide.

Another film section is that in the rural Mozambique – one of the poorest countries in the world – farmers like Andre and Olivia were saving for two years to buy a bicycle in order for them to have an easy transportation. Rosling use a 3D infographic with an x-axis of “income” and a y-axis of “lifespan”. It showed that during the year of 1800, all countries were low in income and lifespan but when 1900’s came the US and the UK led the way upwards. He also showed that durin 1963, a large percentage of people in Asia and Africa were in extreme poverty but today, a much smaller portion of the said two continents where in extreme poverty. In line with this income and wealth, he also discussed in the documentary the problem that more income or a wealthy family means it has great consumption of machines and energy that contributes in climate change that we experience nowadays. Also, according to the film the world already reached the “peak child” around the year 2000 meaning even if we go to 11 billion from 7 billion people there will be no increase in the number of child being born.


There are lots of question in my mind fefore watching the documentary film like will time comes that the earth will be populated or is earth now are already populated. If today, our globe is home to over 7 billion people and it increases by 220,000 per day, this growth is unsustainable and will further rise to a problem- hunger, disease and the destruction of our environment. These were my ideas before watching the documentary film however, Don`t Panic: The Truth About Population wanted the viewers – obviously – not to panic. We are not going to run out of room very soon and the situation is righting itself that the world of tomorrow is a much better that many of us can think. This documentary with Hans Rosling is fascinating and shows how it is quite easy to be feared of the overpopulation that if we have an outdated mindset we can get the wrong idea about world population growth without all the relevant facts like what a typical university-educated British thinks that he showed everytime he flashed a question that was answered by them. We are just lucky that we were able to watch a documentary film like this. In my personal experience I have learnt a lot about population. The most interesting parts for me were that we are at peak-child already, we will plateau at 11 billion people, but that is not scary since it explains that we will reach 11 billion without increasing in the number of children being born.

Also, it can enlighten the mind of other people not only the richest one, to adjust their energy usage to help solve the problem in climate change.


Though we cannot say what could happen in this lifetime Rosling and his documentary film suggested us to stay calm and do not panic. It was an informative documentary film filled with surprising statistics but also an optimistic one. We are scared about the world’s chances, but, in fact, demographics are on our side. In a lifetime and lifestyle that we have today it is rare and lovely to see a documentary that tells us not to panic, for once.


In the film it explains causes and consequences of some things like that falling birth rates mean that we have reached ‘peak child’ – the number of children has stopped growing. By the end of this century the number of population human numbers will also stop growing. The situation of farmers like Andre and Olivia who have been saving for two years to buy a piece of life-transforming technology – a bicycle shows how poverty affects the population of the world. People like them dreamt of being able to buy a bicycle since they believe that this will speed their prosperity along. This shows that there is a beautiful story about the importance of a bicycle to the rural poor in places like Africa. Though in 1900 all other countries led the way upwards and to the right to reach the $100 per day point and a lifespan around 80 we cannot deny the fact there are still part of the world in extreme poverty tends to get stuck and it needs help. Lastly, According to Rosling the richest people burn the most fossil fuels but they look down on the others specially on the poor and say that they cannot live like them and they will destroy the earth, not knowing that they are the one who contribute more on life threatening climate change. The solution to this was explained by Rosling that it requires the richest people to reset their energy use in such a way that it can be shared with 10-11 billion people.


Rosling Don`t Panic documentary film seeks to provide reassurance, while admitting that humanity faces huge challenges. One challenge is precisely that ‘peak child’ situation, for sure there are, and will be, more young adults than ever before. Another challenge is the huge inequality of income most of the countries are catching up to improve the life they have but still there is a large number of our population is in poverty. Lastly, despite the evidence that there are family planning program, many governments support family planning in words only but fail to provide the funding needed to put family planning advocates in every community.


Rosling said that we will not be populated in the end of the century, people vary there are families that do not care in the number of children in their family or there are still families that do not have proper education about family planning.

Action Plan

To help with this problem about population, the first thing that I can do as an educator is to first let my students watched this film in order for them to be educated also about the population growth on earth. Also to show them that by studying and making their life wealthy in the near future can help the country in terms of economic growth. In terms of the threatening climate change, teaching them to be a responsible citizen can help and improve the earth that we have today and will have in the future. These actions must be applied by me also.

18 May 2020
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