Friday, May 23, 2008


(Planet Earth Inversed, from VladStudio -- click on image to reveal a larger version with all the interesting detail)

In the year following my knee replacement surgery and subsequent cognitive insult, I discovered (and derived a sense of balance from) The Miniature Earth, a webmovie which begins with the "idea of reducing the world’s population to a community of only 100 people" and providing a snapshot of who would live in that village. Perhaps all of you are familiar with it, but in case you are not: It has been updated since the original creation by Donella Meadows, and since her death, Sustainability Institute has carried on her vision and work.

Clicking on the link below will allow you to view the third version of The Miniature Earth. It's an invaluable source of perspective. I especially recommend viewing it with children, allowing them to ask questions and brainstorm afterward.

If you want to see Donella's original version (just a list, not the movie) while she was adjunct professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College, go to State of the Village Report.

You can also download a copy for your own PC for $5, the proceeds from which will be used to fund a social project.

For those of you without bandwidth or who for other reasons cannot view the webmovie, I'm transcribing the text after the fold.


If we could turn the population of the earth into a small community of 100 people, keeping the same proportions we have today, it would be something like this...

61 Asians
12 Europeans
8 North Americans
5 South Americans and the Caribbean
13 Africans
1 from Oceania

50 women
50 men

47 live in an urban area

9 are disabled

33 are Christian (Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Anglicans and other Christians)
18 are Muslims
14 are Hindus
16 are non-religious
6 are Buddhists
13 practice other religions

43 live without basic sanitation
18 live without an improved water source

6 people own 59% of the entire wealth of the community

13 are hungry or malnourished

14 can't read
only 7 are educated at a secondary level

only 12 have a computer
only 3 have an internet connection

1 adult aged 15-49 has HIV/AIDS

The village spends more than $1.12 trillion on military expenditures
and only $100 billion on development aid

If you keep your food in a refrigerator
your clothes in a closet
if you have a bed to sleep in
And a roof over your head
You are richer than 75% of the entire world population

If you have a bank account
You're one of the 30 wealthiest people in the world

18 struggle to live on $1.00 per day or less

53 struggle to live on $2.00 per day or less

Appreciate what you have

And do your best for a better world.

It may seem like a small contribution, but you can start doing your part by visiting the following websites:
Make Poverty History
Millenium Campaign
Millenium Goals

(Lino-block print by Liam Holiday)

Mahatma Gandhi said the roots of violence are:
Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Knowledge without character
Commerce without morality
Science without humanity
Worship without sacrifice
Politics without principles”

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