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NOVA - World in the Balance: The Population Paradox

4.6 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

It took all of human history until the year 1804 for our population to reach its first billion. Now a billion new people are added every dozen years. In the industrialized worldJapan, Europe, and the United Statesbirthrates are falling steeply while the senior citizen population is booming. In this two-hour Earth Day special, NOVA explores these and other trends in the relationship between people and the planet.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: June 29, 2004
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00018U8YE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,305 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James Neville on July 11, 2005
Format: DVD
World in Balance contains two excellent Nova segments: "China Revs Up" and "The Population Paradox". I recommend it for its watchable, compassionate treatments that allow us to see the rest of the world in human terms and to understand our complex economic interdependencies with other countries.

That's the summary. Some things that particularly interested me follow...

First, I'm TIRED of the scare tactics in some modern books about how China will outstrip the U.S. economically and we better watch out. Watch this DVD and you will see PEOPLE and KIDS who are experiencing the SAME THINGS WE ARE, namely, improved food clothing shelter transportation AND the dilemma of dealing with pollution. The Four Wheeler Club film shots are particularly fun to watch as novices learn to drive out of some BIG gullies. Being in love with SUV's is not unique to Americans! It brings it home that dealing with economic growth and ecologic balance is everyone's challenge. For example, China will probably need to import HUGE quantities of food from the United States to free itself up to further improve industrially. That is a constructive, beneficial partnerhip in the making, not a destructive competition. For another example, ALL THE CARS IN CHINA are made by foreign manufacturers INCLUDING the United States. However, the Chinese government DOES need to impose rigorous pollution standards for Chinese-made cars as are imposed in the U.S. and Europe. There is a fascinating opening segment about measuring industrial pollution in California's west coast blown all the way across the Pacific Ocean from China's east coast!

Equally fascinating is the program on "The Population Paradox". I worked on population models in graduate school and have followed them ever since with interest.
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This type of movies are a must for everyone who claims to live in a modern world. Covers a great deal about the rise and fall of population in many countires accross the world like India, China, Japan and U.S. Discusses the cons and pros of increasing as well as decreaing population in some of the above mentioned countries. Also includes the extra feature about China that covers the industrial revolution in China over the last 25 years, its merits and deadly effects on envoirnment. All in all a must see.
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Format: DVD
The staggering power of this CD lies in its conceptual insights -- how diverse and complex the twin problems of population growth and global warming have become.

This complexity is such as to make the outcome near unpredictable and likely catastrophic; any short term "solutions" offered here seem too little too late.

POPULATION GROWTH:

This is predicted to reach 9 billion by mid-century despite declining birth rates in industrial countries. What is unexpected is the potential disastrous consequences of such declining birth rates in (e.g.) Europe and Japan; the older generation vastly outnumbers the young, who will be unable to support them.

A different problem exists in Africa, where AIDS has devastated those in their prime, leaving both elderly and children uncared for.

CHINA has a different dilemma; it is trapped by the rising affluence its huge population resulting from industrialization without pollution controls, and finds it difficult to impose such controls withOUT causing economic collapse and civil unrest.

The paradox posed here is that "backing down" the ladder of population growth is far more difficult than imagined. As is "backing down" from industrialization or even imposing pollution controls on a nation whose population is finding new affluence.

GLOBAL WARMING is the other part of the dilemma; at least partly (even significantly) the result of over population and industrialization.

Here the CD is overcome by current events [also see NOVA's "The Dimming Sun"].
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The video is good, covers some interesting points about demography in different areas of the world and natality and survival problems related to the increase in welfare and opportunities in some countries (as Japan), and the lack in some others (typically those in Africa and also parts of India). However, the video dos not address the possible consequences of all these situations as related to pollution and environment, and does not mention at all how these problems are connected with the incredible increase in the human population worlwide, what I believe has passed a long time ago the carrying capacity of the planet.
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Population Paradox is a high quality work. It showed the complexities of human population, without oversimplifying. But most importantly this is a moving portrait of the human condition, especially the parts about abuse of women in India, and the HIV crisis in Kenya. The final thing I liked about the DVD is it clearly outlines solutions, leaving plenty of room for optimism and action.
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This video is very well done and shows issues related to population. I especially enjoy how it focuses on India, Japan, and the US. It shows very different perspectives related to the population issues in these countries. The video does a good job highlighted womens issues and changes in society. I showed the video to my AP Environmental Science class and it really worked well in helping them to understand complex issues. I would highly recommend it.
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