what's next

world population counter

In the entire history of biology, every species that outgrows it’s resource base suffers a crash - a crash sometimes fatal to the entire species.
— Alan Weisman, Author, Countdown

For years I have been making documentaries that tell stories primarily about the past and the present. As of late, the future has been on my mind.

While sitting in gridlock traffic one day on a Los Angeles freeway, the thought crossed my mind that there are simply too many people here.  A subsequent question then came to me, “What would the optimum number of people be so I could drive home at the speed limit, never miss a show because it is “sold out”, or not have to wait in line at the market?”. Wouldn’t that be wonderful, I thought.

Shortly thereafter my curiosity got the best of me and I started investigating the subject of population growth and why it keeps taking longer to drive home. The numbers and facts I discovered were astonishing and in some cases, downright frightening. After spending some time considering what I had learned, it dawned on me that while of all the crisis’ in the world like climate change, poverty, pollution, natural resource destruction, etc. are mega-problems in their own right, they are merely symptoms of one single problem, “too many people”.

That was the “aha moment” for the project I now call, “Endangered Species”. 

I can’t think of a bigger or more important story to tackle. It’s the story of humankind. Past. Present. And most importantly, the Future.

The topic poses a plethora of scientific, moral and philosophical questions; How many is too many? Is it ok that more than a billion people are going hungry everyday? Which is greater, our desire to reproduce, or our will to survive?.

It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.
— Sir David Attenborough

Humans tend to think that we are different from all other forms of life on the planet. But are we? What makes us so special? What is it to be human? Scientists agree that over 99% of all species to inhabit the earth are now extinct. Are we next? Is Humanity’s greatest challenge, humanity itself?

As I have now begun the search for the answer to the question of “will we survive?”, I find myself both doubtful and hopeful. I have always believed there are many possible futures. Some desirable. Some not. I think it depends on the decisions we make and actions we take in the present. It is with this perspective I move forward with this project. The strategy is to take a scientific, data driven approach and combine that with the opinions and expertise of a world-wide variety of individuals and organizations. Add to the experience, thought-provoking, cinematic footage of humanity and our impact around the globe and we have a comprehensive, thought provoking study that will build awareness of the fact that we, as humankind, just might be, an “Endangered Species”.

For more information about the project please contact me.

- Rudy Poe