Typical

Brad M. Griffin | Mar 8, 2011

This year the world population reaches 7 billion. Thats a lot of folks. Apparently it would take 200 years just to count that high out loud (Im going to tell my kids that just in case they try). Apparently wed also all fit right here in LA if we stood shoulder to shoulder (not that wed want to), but the way we use space and energy is radically disproportionate.

130 years ago, there were only 1 billion of us. In response to this massive ongoing population climb, National Geographic is doing a series on world human data and the challenges we face as a global people nearing 7 billion.

The typical person, according to this research on world population, is a 28-year old han Chinese man. The embedded video below offers a quick look at the composite image of Mr. Average.

But of course, there is no Mr. (or Ms.) Average. Its theologically, psychologically, and anthropologically impossible, and part of the beauty of humanity. This attempt at naming whats typical, though, among such a diverse population, can help point out some of the injustices that keep us so far apart. Here are a few discrepancies:

  • The typical American home uses 100 gallons of water a day, while in some parts of Ethiopia its 2.5 gallons
  • 5% of us use 23% of the worlds energy
  • 38% of us dont have access to adequate sanitation
  • 13% of us dont have access to safe drinking water

As our friend Dave Livermore reminds us, we have an incredible opportunity here to understand one another across cultures, and to begin to address the injustices that come from living ethnocentric lives pretending our actions dont impact the world.

National Geographic put together an interactive feature with a ton more statistics if youre interested in exploring it further. And the below teaser videos make for interesting discussion material with your youth ministry:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B2xOvKFFz4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc4HxPxNrZ0&NR=1&feature=fvwp

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, blogger, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and the series Can I Ask That?: 8 Hard Questions about God and Faith. Brad and his family live in Southern California.


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