BBC Television programmes  permalink

This World:Don't Panic, Thursday 7/11, BBC2, 21h

This discussion has been closed.

Messages: 1 - 36 of 36
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by jannemieke (U9267858) on Thursday, 7th November 2013

    Another This World with statistician Prof. Hans Rosling about the fact that there is the beginning of conquering problems such as rapid population growth and extreme poverty. The population explosion will be over in a few generations. The Prof. presents a tour-de-force to prove his point and his message is surprisingly upbeat. I am going to watch this with great interest. There are all ready so many humans on this planet. Too many? smiley - erm

    Report message1

  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by BrightYangThing (U14627705) on Thursday, 7th November 2013

    Brilliant. Brilliantly presented.

    The numbers themselves are less important than is the spread and demographic.

    Fewer young/working to support more and more ageing/in need of support? still the biggest problem I fear.

    Report message2

  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by Guv-nor (U7476305) on Thursday, 7th November 2013

    I too enjoyed 'This World:Don't Panic - The Truth About Population'.

    And enjoyed is not often used about statistics. The presentation was engaging, the facts were interesting and the examples were understandable.

    The test used is available here www.bbc.co.uk/news/m...

    And so are the facts used.

    Report message3

  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by Geometry_Man (U12739007) on Thursday, 7th November 2013

    This was an absolutely superb programme!

    Hans Rosling is a terrific communicator, and this was one of the best documentaries I've seen from the Beeb in a long time.

    Very upbeat about a subject which previously concerned me greatly, and a vital update to Sir David Attenborough's 'How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth?' a year or two ago.

    Report message4

  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by sinical (U14535319) on Thursday, 7th November 2013

    Although it was well presented and the facts were interesting. I felt the programme did not really address the true problem enough.
    Yes population growth is slowing, but it will still reach 10 billion!
    Yes wealth distribution is improving but it's not just about wealth.
    He talked about washing machines. Well throw in all the other everyday white goods taken for granted in the west and then try and supply all of that to the rest of the world.
    The planet just does not have the resources
    The programme just didn't look at the 'ecological footprint'
    Consumption of materials for all that stuff..
    Yes the planet could support 10 billion. But not with everybody having the standard of living we in the west take for granted.
    I know he talked about the rich sharing their wealth, but come on, like thats going to happen?

    As to the so called 'humour' comparing the British peoples ignorance to the intelligence of a chimpanzee, I found it insulting. I suspect the same results would be found if the survey was done in almost any country.
    Yes people's preconceptions need challenging, but there's no need to insult a nation to do it.

    Report message5

  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by Sandstrom (U14413284) on Thursday, 7th November 2013

    For goodness sake, the lecture was aimed at a British audience so of course the British level of general ignorance was used. Not much point allowing us the British audience to think that only some other country is not in possession of the facts

    Report message6

  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by Portly (U1381981) on Thursday, 7th November 2013

    Rosling is good at getting his points across and it was worth hearing what he had to say, especially about the difference between reality and perception concerning global population trends.

    I was surprised to hear him claim that health and wealth had improved in third world countries as a result of political independence following decolonisation. That's not my impression.

    Report message7

  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 7.

    Posted by Bananas are the best (U15650112) on Friday, 8th November 2013

    That's not my impression. 
    Which, I think is part of the point he tries to make. I did the quiz here (www.bbc.co.uk/news/m... yesterday and answered some of the questions thinking that I had got the progress right, but a lot of the time, I simply got it wrong. And I have heard quite a few of his talks. Down the right there are a few of his videos:

    www.ted.com/speakers...

    Report message8

  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 8.

    Posted by Portly (U1381981) on Friday, 8th November 2013

    Unfortunately the link didn't work old chap!

    I have spent time in a couple of African countries, one a former British colony and one Portuguese, and in both cases the infrastructure the colonists had put in, such as roads, dams, schools, telephone exchanges and so-on had just been left to fall apart.

    Report message9

  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Hi my name is Troy McClure (U2262224) on Friday, 8th November 2013

    Watched the programme and took the quiz and came to the conclusion that the reason the majority of Britons would have scored lowly on the quiz is because organisations like the BBC (via new and current affairs programmes) have been telling us we’re all doomed etc for years .So a bit ironic that the BBC is now saying look how unintelligent the British population is about such matters when it’s the BBC that’s been providing the majority if us with the information on which we base our judgements...

    Report message10

  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by Essential Rabbit (U3613943) on Friday, 8th November 2013

    Unfortunately the link didn't work old chap!

    I have spent time in a couple of African countries, one a former British colony and one Portuguese, and in both cases the infrastructure the colonists had put in, such as roads, dams, schools, telephone exchanges and so-on had just been left to fall apart. 
    One could also mention the farms in Zimbabwe, which used to produce huge surpluses of food and now almost nothing.

    I found this well presented but overly optimistic.
    There are already far more people on this polluted planet than resources can support.

    Population has *tripled* during David Attenborough's lifetime. The momentum of that sort of exponential growth won't be so easily halted.

    Report message11

  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by Portly (U1381981) on Friday, 8th November 2013

    I found this well presented but overly optimistic.  

    Maybe so, but I suppose there is so much gloom and doom on the BBC, a lecture pointing out some cheering facts is worthwhile!

    Report message12

  • Message 13

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by heterodox (U14291406) on Friday, 8th November 2013

    'Yes population growth is slowing, but it will still reach 10 billion!'

    I thought the figure Prof. Rosling quoted was 11 billion but whichever it was does not alter his main point that this level of population is sustainable as long as carbon emissions are drastically reduced and that is, I think, where his general optimism tends to fall down. The main polluters, as he pointed out, are the industrial nations of Western Europe and the United States and there, I think, there is no taste for a reduction in fossil-fuel use and our own George Osborne has recently stated that he fears that 'green' taxes will harm our economic recovery. In addition there are the 'deniers' who have an ability to ignore evidence in a way that is usually only given to the religious.
    Nevertheless: I hope that Rosling is correct and that he reappears soon to give another thought-provoking and very enjoyable programme.

    Report message13

  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Polemicist (U14349342) on Saturday, 9th November 2013

    I, too, also thought that this programme was just incredibly optimistic with its rather spurious predictions about the absolutely massive global popualtion explosion, and the repercussions that it will, inevitably, have on the planet together with its dwindling, finite, natural resources.

    Homosapiens are presently already fighting over the world's limited oil resources, just immagine what would really happen if there existed a global lack of either eatable food or uncontaminated drinking water?

    I once read an article about modern human beings and their industrial activity. It claimed we are actually nothing more than an incredibly destructive species, and a rather pitiful race, that will most probably cause it's own extinction long before it finally realises that it may have been actually possible to live in natural harmony with this beautiful planet of ours, that we are all presently destroying.

    I now believe that the BBC should actually invite Sir David Attenborough to produce a far more accurrate and realistic documentary on this whole, and rather frightening, subject matter.

    www.telegraph.co.uk/...

    populationmatters.or...

    www.telegraph.co.uk/...

    Report message14

  • Message 15

    , in reply to message 14.

    Posted by Eamonn_Shute (U14223612) on Saturday, 9th November 2013

    I also found it to be over optimistic. a population of 11 billion would be more than 50 more than now, and as there would be a greater proportion of adults we will need to almost double food production, when we cannot feed everyone now. How are we going to do that, now that the green revolution is over? Crop yields are expected to decrease as a result of climate change, while sea-level rise will inundate the great river deltas and other low-lying land which produces much of our food and is home to hundreds of millions. Add depletion of fossil fuel, depletion of aquifers, and loss of fish catches due to acidification and over-fishing. I see no reason to be optimistic.

    Report message15

  • Message 16

    , in reply to message 10.

    Posted by Vizzer aka U_numbers (U2011621) on Saturday, 9th November 2013

    So a bit ironic that the BBC is now saying look how unintelligent the British population is about such matters when it’s the BBC that’s been providing the majority if us with the information on which we base our judgements... 
    Fair point but it's better that the BBC to start telling it like it is rather than choose to deliberately perpetuate misleading distortions simply for reasons of pride.

    The most important question Professor Rosling asked in the whole program was:

    "What on earth are they teaching at British universities? The common view about the world is outdated with several decades. The media have missed to communicate. But perhaps this is because the world is changing so fast."

    This is a question which many of us English have been asking for years. And particularly so with regard to the UK establishment. One only has to consider the stats Hans gave regarding the fall in the average size of families in Bangladesh over recent decades. In 1980 women in Bangladesh were having on average more than 5 children each while today it's barely more than 2.

    Compare that to the UK where, for example, prime ministers Blair and Cameron have each had 4 offspring during that same time frame. In fact David Cameron is on record as saying "'I don't believe Britain is over-populated. I don't have any plans to reduce it. I would quite like to add to it".

    It seems that it's the UK (and particularly the UK ruling class) which needs to play catch up with the rest of the world - and not the other way around.

    Well done Beeb for showing this program.

    Report message16

  • Message 17

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by the_cleaner (U3423083) on Saturday, 9th November 2013

    For goodness sake, the lecture was aimed at a British audience so of course the British level of general ignorance was used. Not much point allowing us the British audience to think that only some other country is not in possession of the facts  Didn't Hans say they got the same results when they did the survey in Sweden.smiley - erm


    Fascinating doc, but I found the one he did a couple of years ago better - The Joy of Stats...www.youtube.com/watc...

    Report message17

  • Message 18

    , in reply to message 17.

    Posted by Pancho Wilkins (U1158194) on Saturday, 9th November 2013

    Fluently presented . The visual aids were fantastic and set a new benchmark .

    Report message18

  • Message 19

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Pablo2013 (U15923056) on Sunday, 10th November 2013

    One of the most stimulating and informative programmes of recent times.
    Brilliant and exceptional graphics. Factual debunking of several myths promulgated by the media.
    This program deserves to be kept in the public eye and not to disappear in the next few days. All thinking persons should see it.
    It has real educational value.

    Report message19

  • Message 20

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Hy Dranger (U14569978) on Sunday, 10th November 2013

    I missed this but it sounds like they were going over the same ground as Radio 4's "More or Less" broadcast on 28th September where they took issue with David Attenborough's gloomy prognositcations, see www.bbc.co.uk/progra... (download podcast at www.bbc.co.uk/podcas... ) The shocking thing was that the UN's population growth predictions turned out to be based on one person's wild guesswork.

    Report message20

  • Message 21

    , in reply to message 14.

    Posted by Polemicist (U14349342) on Monday, 11th November 2013

    I watched Professor Hans Rosling's lecture again and have now concluded that his whole ridiculously optimistic premise is both, unrealistic, chronically one-sided, and also totally biased.

    In order to give the programme some proper balance other scientific experts and environmentalists should have at least been given the opportunity to actually challenge Hans Rosling's so-called scientific hypothesis, and spurious presumptions.

    Overpopulation by human beings still remains the main threat to life actually surviving on this planet, and there exist numerous scientists and other environmentalists who all agree with me.

    The BBC now has a moral obligation to show a counterarguement programme in order to maintain some kind of proper balance, and to also put the whole subject matter into perspective.

    www.independent.co.u...

    www.independent.co.u...

    Report message21

  • Message 22

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Essential Rabbit (U3613943) on Saturday, 16th November 2013

    I wonder how Prof. Rosling would spin the fact that the Chinese are to relax their one child policy.

    Report message22

  • Message 23

    , in reply to message 22.

    Posted by Bananas are the best (U15650112) on Saturday, 16th November 2013

    Does he need to? I don't think so.

    Report message23

  • Message 24

    , in reply to message 22.

    Posted by Portly (U1381981) on Saturday, 16th November 2013

    I wonder how Prof. Rosling would spin the fact that the Chinese are to relax their one child policy.  The media hand-wringing over the Chinese one-child policy always struck me as a tad hypocritical, considering that back in the 1960's they were finger-wagging at the Chinese and telling them they had to do something about their rapidly-expanding population! smiley - biggrin

    Report message24

  • Message 25

    , in reply to message 22.

    Posted by Polemicist (U14349342) on Saturday, 16th November 2013

    "I wonder how Professor Hans Rosling would spin the fact that the Chinese are now going to relax their one child policy." 
    My guess is that he would most probably either ignore, or even reject, any empirical evidence that does not currently support his incredibly biased, and fundamentally flawed, existing hypothesis on this highly controversial subject matter.

    Report message25

  • Message 26

    , in reply to message 25.

    Posted by Bananas are the best (U15650112) on Saturday, 16th November 2013

    Really? I very much doubt it. He is not a fool. Just because he is not a pessimist on this matter doesn't mean that he has no credibility.

    Report message26

  • Message 27

    , in reply to message 26.

    Posted by Polemicist (U14349342) on Saturday, 16th November 2013

    "Professor Hans Rosling is not a fool.Just because he is not a pessimist on this matter doesn't mean that he has no credibility." 
    There are numerous academics and environmental sceintists, including Sir David Attenborough, who would all vehemently dispute, and find significant flaws in, Professor Hans Rosling's ridiculously optimistic view about global popualtion explosion, and its frightening consequences.

    Just to say that he doesn't take a so-called pessimistic stance on this matter, doesn't make him right. He may not be a pessimist, but he certainly isn't a realist either.

    Moreover, how the BBC can allow one person to make such a ludicrously biased, and completely one-sided programme, about such an important matter, is, just, well, totally beyond my comprehension.

    Report message27

  • Message 28

    , in reply to message 27.

    Posted by Essential Rabbit (U3613943) on Saturday, 16th November 2013

    "Professor Hans Rosling is not a fool.Just because he is not a pessimist on this matter doesn't mean that he has no credibility." 
    There are numerous academics and environmental sceintists, including Sir David Attenborough, who would all vehemently dispute, and find significant flaws in, Professor Hans Rosling's ridiculously optimistic view about global popualtion explosion, and its frightening consequences.

    Just to say that he doesn't take a so-called pessimistic stance on this matter, doesn't make him right. He may not be a pessimist, but he certainly isn't a realist either.

    Moreover, how the BBC can allow one person to make such a ludicrously biased, and completely one-sided programme, about such an important matter, is, just, well, totally beyond my comprehension. 
    Yep. smiley - ok

    There are lies, damned lies and statistics.
    You only need to look around you or watch the news to see the reality.
    Natural resources, mineral and organic are almost exhausted, massive pollution everywhere, starvation, mass migration pressure, climate change, environmental devastation, deforestation, etc.

    And all that is happening now. Even with the optimistic population projections he pulls out of the air, we are b*gg*red.

    Report message28

  • Message 29

    , in reply to message 27.

    Posted by Geometry_Man (U12739007) on Saturday, 16th November 2013

    "Professor Hans Rosling is not a fool.Just because he is not a pessimist on this matter doesn't mean that he has no credibility." 
    There are numerous academics and environmental sceintists, including Sir David Attenborough, who would all vehemently dispute, and find significant flaws in, Professor Hans Rosling's ridiculously optimistic view about global popualtion explosion, and its frightening consequences.

    Just to say that he doesn't take a so-called pessimistic stance on this matter, doesn't make him right. He may not be a pessimist, but he certainly isn't a realist either.

    Moreover, how the BBC can allow one person to make such a ludicrously biased, and completely one-sided programme, about such an important matter, is, just, well, totally beyond my comprehension. 
    However, the Beeb did put out the milestone documentary 'How Many People Can Live On Planet Earth?' a few years ago - the 'Don't Panic' programme was if you like an input into the debate fostered by that earlier one.

    This was very much a statistical offering, not intending to go into any details of resources or climate change. Hans Rosling and the Population Matters organisation actually agree over the world's likely population in a century's time (10-11 billion), and he did acknowledge as far as I remember that there may be doubts over the planet's ability to support that number.

    "Don't panic" isn't the same as "no need to do anything" - and the message I took from this documentary was that the long term future is not quite as bleak because, at least as far as the birthrate is concerned, people are doing something.

    Report message29

  • Message 30

    , in reply to message 27.

    Posted by Bananas are the best (U15650112) on Saturday, 16th November 2013

    So what? Sir David Attenborough doesn't count. Other scientists, you say, if you can cite chapter and verse, I wil listen, but all these 'would all vehemently and find significant flaws in' is really meaningless in this context. Bring on the data, the real data, and the real interpretation. He is going on real data, you are not.

    You complain about how the BBC only allow one side of the argument; no, they are saying that we have conventional wisdom, which has told us this; here is somebody who is seriously well respected, and who is saying something very different. He is the balance to the other, more pessimistic view, as is clearly stated in the literature.

    Report message30

  • Message 31

    , in reply to message 30.

    Posted by Essential Rabbit (U3613943) on Saturday, 16th November 2013

    So what? Sir David Attenborough doesn't count. 
    Why not?
    He has considerably more experience of and knowledge about the completely unsustainable effect that the current population level is having on the environment and the World's finite natural resources, than a statistician.

    Report message31

  • Message 32

    , in reply to message 27.

    Posted by Polemicist (U14349342) on Saturday, 16th November 2013

    There presently exists loads of information on the internet all about the global human population explosion and the absolutely devastating effect that it is, now, actuallly having on this rather fragile planet of ours.

    As for Professor Hans Rosling, well he totally failed to convince me with his ridiculously optimisstic predictions, that were all, predominatly, based on rather dubious suppositions, and projections, rather than any hard factual evidence.

    www.newstatesman.com...

    wwf.panda.org/wwf_ne...

    Report message32

  • Message 33

    , in reply to message 32.

    Posted by jannemieke (U9267858) on Saturday, 16th November 2013

    It was a good lecture, delivered very well. But I sometimes heard things that were quite the opposite of what I heard before. The Prof. is very optimistic ,he is a statistician so he is right if he looks at those, but when he predicts the future evolution of population growth I have my doubts. Maybe it is the case that people in Bangladesh have fewer children, the low mortality/low fertility, but in a lot of countries that doesn't seem to be the case although there is low mortality too. He says religion doesn't make a difference but what I see around me, is completely different or I live amongst ultra conservative devout people. smiley - erm If it is a minority, then the majority is moderate and open to ideas of birth control. I don't see that but maybe they have to come round to the idea and that takes time. It is a pity not ALL people think about the sustainability of our blue planet. It is not all about me, me or us, us but we have to think of future generations. China will now allow people to have more children which is a pity because okee now there are a lot of old people but once that large group has gone, the future group will be smaller so it is only a matter of time and the government should in the meantime help with care for the elderly.

    I would love to see a program by another group of people who counteract the Prof. arguments with other points of view.

    I did the right thing, one child! smiley - winkeye

    Report message33

  • Message 34

    , in reply to message 33.

    Posted by Bananas are the best (U15650112) on Saturday, 16th November 2013

    If you remember what was said above, it was already shown:

    However, the Beeb did put out the milestone documentary 'How Many People Can Live On Planet Earth?' a few years ago - the 'Don't Panic' programme was if you like an input into the debate fostered by that earlier one. 

    IN a sense, this IS the response. What is needed is a proper debate.

    Hans Rosling on Religion:

    www.ted.com/talks/ha...

    Report message34

  • Message 35

    , in reply to message 34.

    Posted by jannemieke (U9267858) on Saturday, 16th November 2013

    I saw Sir David's program, but it was a few years ago, not that these things change so quickly. But a debate would be good and good information to ALL people is necessary.

    Report message35

  • Message 36

    , in reply to message 34.

    Posted by jannemieke (U9267858) on Saturday, 16th November 2013

    Thanks for that clip. smiley - ok

    Report message36

Back to top

About this Board

The Points of View team invite you to discuss BBC Television programmes.

Add basic Smileys or extra Smileys to your posts.

Questions? Check the BBC FAQ for answers first!

Go to: BBC News Have your say to discuss topics in the news

Make a complaint? Go to the BBC complaints website.

BBC News: Off-topic for this board, so contact them directly with your feedback: Contact BBC News

or register to take part in a discussion.


The message board is currently closed for posting.


Mon-Sat: 0900-2300
Sun: 1000-2300

This messageboard is reactively moderated.

Find out more about this board's House Rules

Search this Board

Recent Discussions

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.