Academic contributes to documentary exploring humans’ impact on the planet

A University of Plymouth researcher is among the expert commentators in a new international documentary exploring the impact of overpopulation on marine, animal and human life.

8 Billion Angels uses breath-taking photography and emotion to show how mankind’s incredible success – measured in numbers and wealth – could ultimately undo us all.

In doing so, it aims to trade political correctness for an honest assessment that makes overpopulation understandable and personal by focusing as much on human emotions as scientific facts.

With commentary from a selection of world-leading experts, including Professor of Marine Biology Jason Hall-Spencer, the film tells the stories of individuals around the world impacted by overpopulation.

It highlights the struggle to find clean water in the densest cities of India; how overdevelopment has impacted the oyster industry in Maine; and how our mass agricultural machine has fuelled an ever-expanding population at the expense of the natural resources upon which it depends.

Finally, the film delivers a message of beauty and hope about solving a complex problem of global proportions.

Professor Hall-Spencer was invited to participate in the film thanks to his position as one of the world’s leading experts on ocean acidification and its impact of marine ecosystems and species.

His previous research has shown that rising CO2 levels in the oceans could have consequences for millions and that ocean acidification is having a major impact on marine life.

He is also a member of several global marine organisations, including being one of the core group of 16 scientists that advise the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO).

Professor Hall-Spencer said:

"For the last 50 years, we have seen the effects of people on the oceans. It’s been ramping up and ramping up and now it is getting ridiculous, habitats all over the world are starting to be damaged. We are losing mangroves, we're losing sea grasses, we're losing corals. We need to turn things around."

"We only have a certain amount of freshwater, we’ve only got a certain amount of seafood to grow and catch. We need to look after what we’ve got because with such a high population, these resources are running out and wars will break out."

Professor Jason Hall-Spencer

Professor Jason Hall-Spencer

8 Billion Angels will receive its world premiere on Wednesday 20 April, with celebrity naturalist Chris Packham hosting a conversation after the screening with expert panelists including the film’s producer, Terry Spahr. It will then be screened at cinemas across the United States from Saturday 23 April, and distributed internationally in due course.

Victor Velle, the director of 8 Billion Angels, said:

“It is critical to offer an alternate vision for the future. If we, as individuals, families and nations, band together by pursuing smaller families, supporting the worldwide adoption of accessible and affordable family planning, and strengthening our global commitment to the education and empowerment of women and girls, we will not only bring tremendous social justice, economic prosperity and health equity to billions, but we will unequivocally restore the environment.”

8 Billion Angels

Sustainability expert and environmental activist Terry Spahr’s controversial and timely new documentary 8 Billion Angels, asks the question, “Are there too many of us for planet Earth?” 

Released on April 20 2021, the Sustainable Earth Institute is pleased to have licensed a live streaming for event attendees on Thursday 24 June, followed by a Q&A with Professor Jason Hall-Spencer featured in the film.

"8 Billion Angels weaves together the voices of people around the world as they confront the growing impact of overpopulation on their lives and the planet. It dispels the misperceptions that technology can save us, that reducing consumption is the answer, and that the blame lies solely in the developing world. The ultimate goal of 8 Billion Angels is to inspire real solutions toward lasting sustainability and a better quality of life for all of Earth’s inhabitants."

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