A global village

How to instil such a ‘world-mindedness’ in our children? This award-winning book is an excellent tool to this end, whether for children of late-primary-school age, within one’s family or in school.

The book imagines what the world of today would look like if its population of 6.4 billion was instead a village of 100 people. Then using current research (updated for 2005 for this edition), the author explains what the village would be like. This makes key information about the world’s population accessible to young minds (and is likely to also intrigue their carers).

The information is presented in a large picture-book format, each double-page spread showing a bright painting of the village, accompanied by basic statistics and other facts on the topic covered.

So we learn that 61 of our 100 villagers are from Asia, 5 from North America and only 1 from Oceania.

Of the villagers, 50 don’t have a reliable source of food, and another 20 are severely undernourished.

If the money of the village were equally divided, each person would have around $5500 dollars annually. In fact, the richest 20 people each have more than $9000 annually, while the poorest 20 each have less than $1 a day.

What of religion? “32 are Christians. 20 are Muslins. 13 are Hindus. 11 practice shamanism, animism and other folk religions. 6 are Buddhists. 2 belong to other global religions such as the Baha’i faith, Confucianism, Shintoism, Sikhism or Jainism. 1 is Jewish. 15 are non-religious.”

There is also information on languages, ages, air and water, schooling and literacy, and electricity.

Population growth is striking. Around 1000 BC, only 1 person lived in the village. It took until AD 1000 for this to rise to 5. By 1900 it was still only 32. Yet it is estimated that within another 100 years our village will have 250 members!

At the back of the book the author provides a detailed guide for parents and teachers to teaching “world-mindedness” to children, as well as the basis and sources of the information presented. This includes internet resources.

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