This innovative use of video has engaged more than 23,500 young people globally. The World of 7 Billion video contest inspires students to create and share videos on the impacts of population growth. The contest promotes population education and problem-solving in a creative and accessible way.
The video contest was first launched by Population Education (“PopEd”) in 2010. As the world's population approached 7 billion, they initially saw this “teachable moment” as a one-time event. But, the contest was so popular that it became an annual event. In 2022, PopEd received 2,638 videos from 48 countries, including 45 U.S. states and territories. From these submissions, judges chose 18 middle and high school winners.
Students submitted videos on three themes: ocean health, urbanization, and agriculture and food. The themes vary annually, helping students narrow their focus to present a logical solution to the problem. Students can focus on a specific category of the theme such as irrigation, transportation, or overfishing. Experts judge videos according to a rubric, and students can win cash prizes in each US state and 6 international regions.
“Population growth is a threat multiplier – it makes other problems worse and more difficult to combat.”
This successful tactic encourages youth to tackle problems associated with population growth. In addition to reaching students, this contest allows communities to learn from student solutions. Here's one of the winning videos from the 2021-2022 contest, created by Benjamin Kurian, a middle schooler from Powell, Ohio:
PopEd is the only national program in the US with a direct focus on addressing global population growth. They use a multi-pronged approach to help students think critically about population challenges. First, the program provides classroom curricula for teachers. The library includes videos, infographics, and lesson plans for K-12 math, science, social studies, and language arts. Annually, PopEd staff execute 700 workshops with more than 12,000 teacher trainees in the US and Canada. Their activism toolkit equips students with specific outlets for sparking change. For example, students can find a list of mobile apps geared toward responsible consumerism. They can browse tips for using social media for civic activism. Or, they can find methods of influencing lawmakers, even for those who are not yet of voting age.
Population Connection is a US-based grassroots organization that formed 1968. Its goal is to improve quality of life for the world’s population while simultaneously creating a more sustainable future for the planet. Their work becomes even more critical as our global population approaches 8 billion, with 2 billion more to be added by the year 2050. This organization is educating the next generation of leaders who will confront the world’s climate crisis. The name will change from the World of 7 Billion to the World of 8 Billion student video contest starting in the 2022-2023 school year.
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