It took all of time just to get to two billion people in 1927. Who could have imagined that number would triple in just over 70 years? This one-hour special, timed to coincide with the symbolic day the United Nations projected the world population would reach six billion, doesn’t just look at numbers but at the many faces of the population equation.

In Nepal, Barbara Pyle treks with three dynamic sisters, Dickie, Nicky and Lucky, who have bucked tradition in their country. Instead of getting married at a young age and having large families, they started a trekking business. Their business employs 14 female guides where everyone involved is learning new skills and gaining self-confidence in a profession previously unheard of for women in Nepal. The Annapurna region of the Himalayas is the stunning backdrop for this remarkable story.

In India we meet Veer Bhadra Mishra. Barbara Pyle has been chronicling his efforts to clean up the Ganges River since 1985. He’s a hydraulic engineer and the spiritual head of the Hanuman temple in Varanasi. He works tirelessly to save his sacred river, travelling throughout India and the world. After 20 years of struggle, he is getting results. Varanasi is a metaphor for the impact our swelling numbers has on cities everywhere.

In Los Angeles, we examine the environmental impacts of the United States’ culture of consumerism. Cecile Andrews helps simplify and de-consumerize people’s lives. Cecile meets actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr., and comedian Phyllis Diller in a supermarket and puts them to a challenge. Who does she think is the most environmentally aware? Cecile has a hard time holding in the laughs as she judges a “supermarket shop off” between the two. Many experts believe that over-consumption has more impact on the environment than rapid population growth.

  • Bronze Plaque, The Chris Award, The Film Council of Greater Columbus - 2000
  • Global Media Award (The Population Institute) for Excellence in Population Reporting, Best TV Documentary, 2000