If the nations of the world need a common danger to unite them and force them to think co-operatively - as it is often claimed they do - they do not have to go far to find it.
Earth from outer space
GV Crowded streets in London (2 shots)
GV Streets in Delhi (2 shots)
GV Crowds in street in Santiago (5 shots)
SV TRACK Babies
GV PAN Crowded train past in Djakarta
GV TRACKING from train to shanty town
GV Streets with rickshaws and people (2 shots)
STV People in swamps in Bangkok
GV Families and children by river-side
LS PULL BACK Traffic in Bangkok street
GV Street in Nairobi (2 shots)
GV TRACKING SHOT shanty town area
GV TRACKING SHOT busy street with traffic
SV TRACKING SHOT shanty town
CU Small African boy licking paper
GV PAN Tenements in Hong Kong and social worker walking across courtyard
GV TILT Family planning clinic
CU Family planning signs (2 shots)
CU Kerbside PULL crowds crossing street and London traffic scenes (5 shots)
SV People walking in crowded street
GV Africans crossing road
CU Asian people walking past camera
CU African children
CU Small European baby in pram
SV Two children behind wire fence
Initials ET/2100 ET/CD/BB/2318
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: If the nations of the world need a common danger to unite them and force them to think co-operatively - as it is often claimed they do - they do not have to go far to find it.
For the biggest threat to life on this planet is the number of people on it. It is already an overcrowded place, barely supporting a population of 4,000 million people.
But by the beginning of the 21st century the likelihood is that the number will be doubled. At the same time, the Earth's resources - the things necessary to feed, cloths and shelter the human race - are rapidly dwindling.
That is the scale of impending disaster facing us all.
It is being studied later this month at a United Nation World Population Conference being held in Bucharest, Rumania, where experts will first try to evaluate the problem and then decide what can be done to aleviate its effects.
The figures are awesome. Each hour of the day, the world gains another 11,000 people: each day, nearly 300,000: each year, something like 95 millions. Each year, an increase roughly equivalent to the present population of Japan.
Worse, it is a lopsided progression. More and more people will live in the Third World countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America and fewer in the developed world.
It is estimated that, by the early 21st century, one person in six will be Chinese and one in six Indian. One in every eight will be African and one in ten a Latin American. On the other hand, fewer than ten in every thousand will be British and the Common Market will house less than 5 percent of the world's people.
And over-population is inextricable bound up with the other crisis - of food shortage, diminishing energy reserves and pollution in all its forms.
In the search for a minimum living standard, millions have already flocked to the industrial centres and abandoned the land. The result is that some of the world's cities are already living disasters and potentially productive land left fallow or under-farmed.
To arrest and perhaps reverse this rolling disaster is a gigantic undertaking. It is already too late to prevent the population of the world from doubling, or to prevent the near-starvation of millions not yet born.
Even to think of tackling it requires the co-operation and commitment of everyone. It means limiting the number of children who are born into the world. This cuts across social, religious and even political considerations as well as the reality that no legislation will prevent people from having children.
What is needed - and what the World Population Conference will consider - is a programme of birth control which explains the need for restricting the side of families and provides the birth control systems to make it feasable.
It will cost millions to sustain, as will the programme aimed at increasing the world's production of food and alternative sources of energy. But what ever it costs, it will be cheap if it averts the final calamity in which the people on earth finally outstrip the capacity of the earth to support them.
The World Population Conference is of crucial importance, for this is not a problem of the future. It is with us now and the best hope is that it can be prevented from getting worse.
The present generation owes that to its children - and they are being born as a rate of two every second.
SYNOPSIS: If the nations of the world need a common peril to unite them, they could do worse than simply look around....for the biggest threat to life n Earth is the number of people in it. Today, it barely supports the 4,000 million people who inhabit it. But by the beginning of the 21st century, the numbers are likely to double - while at the same time, the Earth's resources needed to feed, clothe and shelter the human race are rapidly dwindling. That is the scale of the disaster facing everyone on earth.
Every hour of the day, the world gains 11,000 more people... and slips behind in the race to feed them.
And overpopulation is inextricably bound up with the other crises - of food shortage, diminishing energy reserves and pollution in all its forms.
This awesome problem is to be discussed later this month when the World Population Conference convenes in Bucharest. Experts will try to devise means of coping with a situation which sees the world population increase each year by about 95 millions - roughly the present population of Japan.
The search for a minimum living standard has already sent millions flocking to the cities and away from potentially productive farm-land. The result is that some of the world's cities are now living disasters, while crop-bearing areas are left fallow or under-farmed. And this fatal imbalance spells starvation.
To arrest and perhaps reverse this rolling disaster means the co-operation of everyone. It means limiting the numbers of children who are born -- despite religious, social or political objections. It needs a birth control programme which explains the need to restrict families and provides the means to make that feasible. It will cost millions but if it works, it will be cheap.
It is already too late to prevent the population of the world from doubling in size, or to prevent the near-starvation of millions not yet born. But it might be possible to stop half-way to disaster, providing the nations of the world act now, and act in unison. That is the hope of the Population Conference and for us all. The present generation owes that to its children -- and they are being born at a rate of two a second. That's 372 since this film started.