Mother, the film, breaks a 40-year taboo by bringing to light an issue that silently fuels our most pressing environmental, humanitarian and social crises – population growth. In 2011 the world population reached 7 billion, a startling seven-fold increase since the first billion occurred 200 years ago.
Population was once at the top of the international agenda, dominating the first Earth Day and the subject of best-selling books like “The Population Bomb”. Since the 1960s the world population has nearly doubled, adding more than 3 billion people. At the same time, talking about population has become politically incorrect because of the sensitivity of the issues surrounding the topic–religion, economics, family planning and gender inequality. Yet it is an issue we cannot afford to ignore.
Today, nearly 1 billion people still suffer from chronic hunger even though the Green Revolution that has fed billions will soon come to an end due to the diminishing availability of its main ingredients–oil and water. Compounded with our ravenous appetite for natural resources, population growth is putting an unprecedented burden on the life system we all depend on, as we refuse to face the fact that more people equals more problems.
The film illustrates both the over-consumption and the inequity side of the population issue by following Beth, a mother and a child-rights activist as she comes to discover, along with the audience, the thorny complexities of the population issue. Beth – who comes from a large American family of 12 and has adopted an African-born daughter–travels to Ethiopia where she meets Zinet, the oldest daughter of a desperately poor family of 12. Zinet has found the courage to break free from thousand-year-old-cultural barriers, and their encounter will change Beth forever.
Grounded in the theories of social scientist Riane Eisler, the film strives not to blame but to educate, to highlight a different path for humanity. Overpopulation is merely a symptom of an even larger problem – a “domination system” that for most of human history has glorified the domination of man over nature, man over child and man over woman. To break this pattern, the film demonstrates that we must change our conquering mindset into a nurturing one. And the first step is to raise the status of women worldwide.
“Mother: Caring for 7 Billion” features world-renown experts and scientists including biologist Paul Ehrlich, author of “The Population Bomb;” economist Mathis Wackernagel, the creator of the ground-breaking Footprint Network; Malcolm Potts, a pioneer in human reproductive health; and Riane Eisler, whose book “The Chalice and the Blade” has been published in 23 countries.