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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Population Boom

USA | Mexico | Africa | India | Bangladesh 2014
Starts March 27, 2014

Directed by: Werner Boote
Writing Credits: Werner Boote
Cast: Documentary with Farida Akther, Ki-moon Ban, Werner Boote, Benjamin Fulford, Betsy Hartmann
Length: 91 minutes

POPLike me, you probably grew up under the influence of Chicken Little, thinking the sky is going to fall or the world is going to fall apart when our population goes beyond….. Well, beyond what, exactly? The world’s population is already at 7 billion, four times greater than it was in 1940, and it’s heading for the 9 billion mark around the middle of this century. That’s only 26 years away, and something most of us will probably experience first hand. And like me, you too have probably never questioned the politically correct idea of family planning and fewer children as the solution to this dilemma. However, if you watch Werner Boote’s film, you may begin to see things differently. His message is that it is not the population explosion in developing countries that is threatening our planet. It is not the have-nots who are depleting our resources, emitting vast amounts of carbon dioxide causing global warming, and leaving the biggest ecological footprint on earth. According to Boote and the critics around the world he interviewed for this film, it is rich nations, oil and pharmaceutical companies, banks and wealthy individuals whose insatiable appetites and patterns of consumption are destroying our planet. At the same time, they are the ones who lament the population boom the most vociferously, who promote family planning as the best solution, and who ward themselves off from the growing hordes in multimillion dollar facilities. Our planet would very easily be capable of sustaining an even greater population if the wealthy could get along with less and be willing to share, Boote maintains. In addition, we all could be certain that there will be enough young people around to support the elderly, a problem often overlooked in debates about family planning.

In this film, Werner Boote, a popular Austrian movie producer best known for his documentary film entitled “Plastic Planet”, sets out to examine just how serious the threat of over-population is. He begins with the United Nations Population Fund in New York and moves on to Mexico, China, India, Africa and Bangladesh, where he interviews diplomats, politicians, writers, farmers, nurses and activists. On his journey around the world Werner Boote visits many unlikely places including a Masai farm in Africa and the home of a family in the slums of an Indian city, always kindly and gently curious. His trip ends on the roof of a precariously loaded train, squished in between a bunch of pilgrims who, together with five million others, are returning home after attending a Muslim celebration in Tongi, Bangladesh. Werner Boote’s film is both informative and provocative, an unspectacular movie but well worth seeing. After seeing it, you may still not be willing to settle for 11 square meters of space, which is the amount you would be allotted if the world population were pressed into the borders of Austria. Nevertheless, the information the movie presents might cause you to reassess some of your views. For example:

Did you know that the Pentagon uses as much oil every day as the whole country of Sweden?
Did you know that every eighth person on earth is suffering from starvation?
Did you know that the rich soil of Sudan would be capable of producing enough food for a billion people?
Did you know that 1.5 billion people in the world are overweight?
Did you know that in the year 2012 for the first time more adult diapers than baby diapers were sold in Japan? ()

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