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World in the Balance

Program Overview


Sketch of family NOVA examines recent trends in population worldwide and explores the environmental implications of countries undergoing industrialization.

The People Paradox
The program:

  • reveals that birthrates are declining in many parts of the world, particularly in industrialized nations.

  • conveys that populations are still rapidly growing in developing countries, where demand for food and water is higher than supply.

  • examines how population growth or decline will affect different countries.

  • profiles the population challenges of India, Kenya, and Japan.

  • relates how women in India do not have access to birth control or adequate medical care and often die in childbirth.

  • shows how orphans in sub-Saharan Africa struggle to survive after their parents die from AIDS.

  • describes the development of a microbicide that may give women the ability to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.

  • explores the problems Japan will encounter in the future when its labor force shrinks and there are no longer women at home to care for the elderly.

China Revs Up
The program:

  • describes China as a country encompassing a quarter of the world's population.

  • highlights the fact that many people in China will be changing from an agrarian to an urban lifestyle in the next few decades.

  • reports that China burns more coal than any other nation, a source of pollutants and a greenhouse gas.

  • explores what might happen when more cars are purchased in China.

  • recounts the government policy enacted in 1979 prohibiting Chinese couples from having more than one child.

  • examines how population growth, affluence, and technology may affect global warming.

  • discusses how improvements in technology can reduce carbon emissions.

Taping Rights: Can be used up to one year after the program is taped off the air.

Teacher's Guide
World in the Balance