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Chris Packham: 7.7 Billion People and Counting

Episode 1 Chris Packham: 7.7 Billion People and Counting

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Review

You come to this kind of documentary knowing that once you’ve seen it, you can’t un-see it. The effects may include a sense of powerlessness, of approaching doom, but with little you can do about it all, so really – why bother? Why not watch repeats of Friends, or stick fingers in your ears and curl up in a ball?

Push those thoughts aside. Chris Packham and his director Charlie Russell (who also made Asperger’s and Me) have produced a film about the impact of the world’s growing population that, while quietly devastating, finds room for glimmers of hope. “Someone’s got to talk about this issue while there’s still a chance to solve the problem,” Packham says.

There are no scenes featuring Packham holding a small baby. But there are powerful sequences in the suburbs of Lagos and Sao Paulo, and they avoid clichéd images of vast crowds or a suggestion that this is purely a problem caused by the birth rate in the developing world. The issue is (mainly) consumption: Packham observes that if everyone in the world consumed like the average person in the UK, we would need the resources of two more Earths to live sustainably.

Summary

The naturalist investigates the impact of a growing human population on the world in light of predictions that the number of humans could reach 10 billion by the year 2050. He considers the steps that will need to be taken for Earth's natural resources to support so many people, visiting a city in Brazil that is on the verge of running out of water and a community school in Nigeria that may present a possible solution. Featuring contributions from leading environmental experts including David Attenborough.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Chris Packham
Contributor David Attenborough
Director Charlie Russell
Editor Will Grayburn
Editor Gareth Heal
Executive Producer Dov Freedman
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Education