Chris Packham on why he hopes his latest series – Chris Packham: 7.7 Billion People and Counting on BBC2 – will start a very important conversation
‘We’ve got to look after this place, there is no planet B,’ says a troubled Chris Packham in his new BBC2 documentary Chris Packham: 7.7 Billion People and Counting.
He asks tough questions about our planet’s ability to sustain its population – the UN predicts by 2050 there could be 10 billion of us.
He travels to São Paulo in Brazil, a city running out of water, chats to Sir David Attenborough about the destruction of the natural world, visits Nigeria, set to be the world’s third most populated country in 30 years’ time, and meets a Liverpool couple trying to have a baby through IVF.
The issues are complex, but there’s no one better to start this conversation than Chris.
Here Chris, 58, tells us more and explains why he thinks this is now the most urgent issue we face…
Why was making Chris Packham: 7.7 Billion People and Counting so important to you?
We’re living in an age where we’re being confronted by some pretty stark realities.
Everyone in the UK is now well aware of climate change but population growth is the elephant in the room.
The fact is, we’ve only got a limited amount of resources and our planet isn’t getting any bigger.
We’re exploiting it too rapidly in an unsustainable way.
Which countries have the most rapid population growth?
Nigeria is the most rapid and in the programme we visit its largest city, Lagos.
However, what’s really important to understand is when it comes to population there’s a tendency to point the finger at sub-Saharan African countries with large families of children, but in fact it’s us here in developed countries who are the biggest threat to the planet because we are the biggest consumers.
It’s consumption that is inextricably linked to climate change and biodiversity loss.
You chat to Sir David Attenborough, who, like you, is a patron of the charity Population Matters...
In my lifetime the human population has doubled; in Sir David’s it has trebled!
Both of us are motivated by a great love and passion for things that live and when that’s disappearing around you and you’re getting older, there’s a sense of urgency to do something about it and to start conversations.
For full listings, see our TV Guide.
TV Times rating: *****
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Joanne Lowles has been writing about TV since 2002. After graduating from Cardiff University with a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism, she worked for All About Soap magazine covering the ups and downs of life on the cobbles, the square and the Dales.
Next came nearly 10 years at TV Times magazine as a writer and then deputy features editor. Here she spent many happy days interviewing the biggest names in entertainment and visiting the sets of some of our most popular shows including Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife and Strictly Come Dancing.
With a love of nature and wildlife she’s also interviewed the leading experts in this area including David Attenborough, Chris Packham and Steve Backshall. She’s also travelled the world visiting Mongolia, Canada and South Africa to see how the best in the business make the most brilliant natural history documentaries.
Freelance since 2013, she is now is a digital writer and editor for What to Watch, previews the best on the box for TV Times mag each week and loves being constantly surprised, entertained and informed by the amazing TV that she is lucky enough to watch.