Challenging students to think critically about a world of 7 billion

It’s official! Population Education’s (“PopEd”)  annual World of 7 Billion student video contest is open for submissions for the 2016/2017 school year!

Now in its sixth year, the contest began in 2011 as global human population reached the milestone of 7 billion. Part of a broader middle and high school curriculum, it’s meant to challenge students to think both critically and creatively about rapid population growth and how it affects people and the environment.

The PopEd program encourages students of all grade levels to engage in real world issues, building the next generation of informed leaders, voters, and global citizens. The only program of its kind in the United States, it provides award-winning, interdisciplinary classroom materials for K-12 teachers.

Winners of our World of 7 Billion student contest will receive cash prizes, and the contest is open to middle and high school students worldwide. Last year’s contest saw a record number of entries—nearly 2,000—from all over the world! Entries came from 44 U.S. states and territories and 28 countries. In past years, winning students have come from high schools as far away as Australia, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, Lithuania, and Zambia.

Students create 60-second videos that fit into one of three topic areas, illustrating how human population growth intersects with some of the challenges facing our planet. Videos must illustrate the problem as seen through the lens of population and offer at least one sustainable solution to the issue the student chooses to work on.

Each year, topics are chosen for their relevance to current events. This year’s topics and suggested subthemes are:

  • Climate change: weather events and patterns, impact on agriculture, impact on coastal cities, human health, ecosystem disruption
  • Ocean health: overfishing, coral bleaching, climate regulation, habitat loss, pollution, dead zones
  • Rapid urbanization: sprawl, sanitation, air and water quality, megacities, migration, slums and informal settlements

Two of PopEd’s staff members explain more:

More contest information, including instructions on how to submit an entry, can be found on the website.

Population Education is a core program of Population Connection. PopEd reaches three million students annually, increasing awareness about the implications of population growth for our world. If you’d like to learn more about PopEd’s innovative population curriculum, please visit them at This program is made possible through the generous support of Population Connection’s 40,000 members.


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