The world as a village

From global warming to a global consciousness

A crisis often has the advantage of uniting people. Climate change is the first problem on a global scale that we have faced as a species. We must hope that it has the positive side effect of stimulating our global consciousness. No country, no region, no people will escape the negative effects of the impending worldwide increase in temperature. We must all cooperate in mitigating it if we are to succeed.

Our planet however is large and complex and thinking globally is not an easy exercise. If the world were as small as, let’s say, a village of 100 people, we would probably be more prudent with our resources. We wouldn’t be able to pass the problem off with empty excuses like ‘the others should first…’ because ‘the others’ would be our next-door neighbours.

Here is what the world of today would look like if it was suddenly shrunk to be a village of 100 people:

  • 30 white and 70 non-white
  • 61 Asians, 14 Africans, 11 Europeans, 9 Latin-Americans, and 5 North-Americans
  • 13 would speak Chinese, 10 English, 8 Hindi/Urdu, 6 Spanish, 4 Russian, 4 Arabic, 3 Portuguese, 3 Bengali, 2 German, 2 French, 2 Japanese, 2 Persian, and 41 yet another language
  • 32 would be Christian, 20 Muslim, 13 Hindu, 7 Buddhist, and 28 would have another or no religion
  • 52 would be women and 48 would be men
  • 29 would be children under 15 years old, and 7 would be older than 65
  • 26 women would be between 15 and 49 years old and sexually active with only 14 of these using contraceptives; they would have an average of 3 children
  • Each year, 2 children would be born and 1 person would die
  • 1 person would be HIV positive
  • 89 would be heterosexual and 11 would be homosexual
  • 53 people would have to live on less than 2 US dollars a day
  • 12 people would have a shortage of water
  • 6 people, all white, would own 60 percent of the land
  • 80 people would live in ramshackle houses
  • 20 would be illiterate, mostly women
  • 1 person would have an academic degree
  • There would be 15 PCs, 15 mobile phones, 11 cars, and 6 newspapers

By 2050, the population of the village will have grown to 141, of which 81 would be Asians, 31 Africans, 12 Latin-Americans, 10 Europeans, and 7 North-Americans.

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