Segments in this Video

Human Population Dynamics: The Habitable Planet: Introduction (01:32)


Human actions affect the entire planet. Dr. Martha Farnsworth Riche studies population dynamics in U.S. communities. Prof. Deborah Balk examines how climate change will affect vulnerable populations in the coastal regions of developing nations.

Where are the People? (02:35)

Every 10 years, the census counts the number of people living in every household; additional surveys gather data on economics, housing, and health. Dr. Farnsworth Riche discusses benefits of collected data.

Population Growth and Sustainability (02:27)

Dr. Farnsworth Riche discusses how census information is applied to environmental science and population migration to areas that were once considered nonviable. Scientists question how an increasing population can minimally impact the environment.

Water Supplies Reaching Natural Limits (03:15)

Cape Cod's population has significantly increased since 1950. Brian Dudley studies water quality degradation and its impact on the ecosystem.

Nitrogen Pollution (02:35)

Dr. Eric Davidson investigates nitrogen levels from vehicle emissions. Experts combine data to help planners and policymakers manage population growth and Cape Cod habitats.

Limiting Environmental Impact (03:02)

Experts discuss using a smart growth approach to rising populations in Cape Cod; census data can predict its effect. Dr. Farnsworth Riche states that extended lifespans are the primary driver population growth in the U.S.

If Sea Levels Rise (02:09)

Experts estimate world population will peak at approximately 9.1 billion in the next 50 years and that climate change will cause a rise in ocean levels. Coastal regions are disproportionately urban and at greatest risk. Balk assesses population characteristics and behaviors and their global impact.

Urban Areas at Risk (03:25)

Climate change will have the most effect on areas within a 10 meter elevation above sea level. Balk and her team use census data, satellite data, and global nighttime images to determine how many people live in low elevation coastal zones; see images from Vietnam.

Ocean Level Rise (03:48)

Balk collected data to make risk predictions for the New York Metropolitan area. Models predict the interval between 100 year storms will significantly lessen. Eve Mosher explains the HighWaterLine project.

Endangered Coastal Zones (02:12)

Planning for the future is important for communities at risk of climate change effects. Balk's study indicates more than 600 million people worldwide live in low elevation coastal zones; some areas are urbanizing at a fast rate.

Credits: Human Population Dynamics: The Habitable Planet—A Systems Approach to Environmental Science (00:39)

Credits: Human Population Dynamics: The Habitable Planet—A Systems Approach to Environmental Science

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Human Population Dynamics: The Habitable Planet—A Systems Approach to Environmental Science

Part of the Series : The Habitable Planet: A Systems Approach to Environmental Science
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



The human population of our planet now exceeds 6.5 billion and is rising. Much of this growth is projected for the most environmentally fragile regions of the world. Will studying the history of the world's population growth help predict the Earth's "carrying capacity"?

Length: 29 minutes

Item#: BVL111569

Copyright date: ©2007

Closed Captioned

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