Something to mull over during the holidays

As a child I used to devour statements along the lines of “now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall“. Whenever I was presented with information of sufficient abstraction or scale, I tried to transpose the context or scale in order to help my comprehension. I would look out for stuff like “if you unpacked the number of carbon atoms in the full stop at the end of this sentence, and arranged the atoms in a straight line, then that line would stretch all the way to the sun”. [An aside: I dragged that from memory, must have read it somewhere when I was young, never bothered to check it out.]

With this in mind, I really enjoyed this video, additionally available here in Spanish, French and Portuguese. I quote from the Miniature Earth site:

The idea of reducing the world’s population to a community of only 100 people is very useful and important. It makes us easily understand the differences in the world.
There are many types of reports that use the Earth’s population reduced to 100 people, especially in the Internet. Ideas like this should be more often shared, especially nowadays when the world seems to be in need of dialogue and understanding among different cultures, in a way that it has never been before.

The text that originated this webmovie was published on May 29, 1990 with the title “State of the Village Report”, and it was written by Donella Meadows, who passed away in February 2000. Nowadays Sustainability Institute, through Donella’s Foundation, carries on her ideas and projects.

Donella Meadows’ original “State of the Village Report” may be found at:

The text used here has been modified. The statistics have been updated based on specialized publications, and mainly reports on the World’s population provided by The UN, PRB and others.

The Miniature Earth website was first published in 2001, since than it has been seen by more than 2 million people around the globe and linked by more than 20.000 websites.

I found it particularly instructive at a time like this, when much of the West is taken up with conspicuous consumption. My thanks to erstwhile friend and colleague Andrew Pullman for bringing it to my attention.

I’ve placed it in my VodPod as usual, but it may take a little time to show.

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