The problems of overpopulation and the craft of the theatre don’t often meet, so when they do it’s worth paying attention. The new show ‘Ten Billion’ by scientist Stephen Emmott is a one-man production looking at man's impact on the planet.
Finding the middle ground between theatre and scientific lecture, the show takes a tour of our use of the Earth’s resources and predicts a grim future if the global population hits the landmark ten billion figure, as seems likely.
The idea behind the show, according to this interview, is ‘to give a sense of the scale and the nature of the problems and how they are all interrelated. This is an experiment, to see if it is possible to communicate these sorts of issues to a non-scientific audience in a way that actually makes sense.’
Shrill voices declaring that family planning in the developing world is the only answer to a growing global population oversimplify the issue and miss the point.
At ActionAid we believe that you don’t reduce the global population in order to reduce hunger and poverty, but instead you reduce hunger and poverty to tackle the problems of overpopulation. Hunger keeps people poor and sometimes the only form of insurance is to have children.
This is just the reality of people’s lives. As such, the best way of addressing population growth is empowering women, and reducing poverty and hunger, not the other way round as some commentators are quick to declare.
If this has whetted your appetite for the debate, there’s a live Twitter Q&A tonight (31 July) at 8.45pm with Stephen Emmott – tune in here and have your say and have your say.