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NOVA - World in the Balance: The Population Paradox (2004)

 NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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NOVA - World in the Balance: The Population Paradox + Planet in Peril + The 11th Hour
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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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00018U8YE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,199 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

It took all of human history until 1800 for the world’s population to reach its first billion. Now we add a new billion nearly every dozen years. Over the next half century, 98 percent of that growth will take place in our planet's poorest regions. And as the global total swells to nearly 9 billion by 2050, the social and environmental strains will be enormous.

Through vivid personal stories, The People Paradox reveals many startling trends. In Japan, Europe and Russia, birth rates are shrinking and the population is aging. But in parts of India and Africa, more than half of the still growing population is under 25. The surprising conclusion: world population is now careening in two dramatically different directions.

The second hour, China Revs Up, is an insider’s look at China’s booming economy and its growing impact on the environment. What will happen as China follows America’s affluent lifestyle and begins to rival the U.S. as the world’s biggest polluter?

In this groundbreaking, worldwide investigation of humanity’s future, NOVA shows how decisions made now will change the fate of everyone over the next fifty years.

Special DVD features include: materials and activities for educators; a link to the NOVA Web site; scene selections; closed captions; and described video for the visually impaired.

On one DVD5 disc. Region coding: All regions. Audio: Dolby stereo. Screen format: Letterboxed.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 70 people found the following review helpful
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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL INSIGHTS INTO WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW September 23, 2007
By Mark
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.


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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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars jose bava - review of¨"world in the balance" January 26, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars population paradox November 13, 2006
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent video on population issues January 2, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great documentary for AP Human Geography Course December 15, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This engaging video really helped me to teach the concepts in the "Population" unit of my AP Human Geography course. Nice contrast between over-population problems in certain regions of India and under-population problems in Japan.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind Boggling
My Consciousness Has Been shifted. This SHould be Required Viewing. It Really Puts A LoT Of Things In Perspective. The Future Now Seems Shaky At Best. Read more
Published 3 months ago by DMor1516
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative & very well-done
A focused look at many of the ramifications of the growing disparities in population growth rates - social, environmental, economic, & political among others.
Published 6 months ago by Sage of Sippewissett
5.0 out of 5 stars Great video for AP Human Geography Course
This is the perfect video to show my 10th grade AP Human Geography students. They've never thought about population like this before. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Laura Lee Modesitt
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent viewing
I loved this and the broad spectrum of global threats that it covered. Well presented and informative. I recomend this DVD to anyone interested in global crisis
Published 9 months ago by PuddleDuckie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent inquiry into population growth
This film is a thought provoking depiction of the growing population problem in the world. It compares more than one country or area and is most useful in explaining the results... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Judith
5.0 out of 5 stars lots of facts you must know
facts about MAN, the most intelegent of creatures on this uniqe blue planet,will man keep this planet going on?? Read more
Published 16 months ago by Tarek Sharara
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad to have this
This was a great video that i really wanted to show my students. The video came fast and met my needs.
Published 18 months ago by Kim Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Great video
The "World in a Balance" documentary of different countries experiencing population explosion or decline was fascinating. Read more
Published 18 months ago by tex73
4.0 out of 5 stars Good DVD for higher level classes
Great DVD for higher level high school classes. Lower level kids may struggle with the difficult concepts of the population crisis revealed. Great for my honors class! Read more
Published 22 months ago by JulyUnique
5.0 out of 5 stars good
This is a good documentary that i use for a class of environmental science. The students understand more about what factors might influence a population growth.
Published 22 months ago by ci
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