8 Billion Angels Parent Guide
Thankfully this environmental documentary provides suggestions to ameliorate the terrifying issues it raises.
Parent Movie Review
“This is a planet of finite resources and we’re using them up. That’s going to mean so much suffering in the future.”
“Our lifestyles are an existential threat for the poorest people on the planet.”
“What is the next generation going to think of us if we trash the planet for them?”
Scared yet? If you’re not already concerned about the environment, the first two-thirds of 8 Billion Angels will have you in a state of near-total panic. This documentary begins with an examination of the unfolding ecological catastrophe in the earth’s oceans, looking at how rising greenhouse gases are acidifying the oceans, bleaching coral, and devastating fish stocks. Then the film moves on to agriculture, specifically the challenges posed by irrigation. Although irrigation increases crop yields in the short and medium term, over the long term it is draining underground water tables, with droughts the inevitable future result. In addition, the fertilizers that also boost harvests damage surface water. The challenges facing surface waterways are examined in even more detail in India, where Delhi’s Yamuna river runs black and flammable from all the pollution and waste poured into its sacred currents.
Director Victor Velle and the experts who are interviewed during the film assert that the common thread underlying all of these environmental threats is earth’s burgeoning population. In the space of a generation, from 1960 to 2020, global numbers have more than doubled, from 3 million to almost 8 billion. As all the earth’s people seek dignity, economic stability, and comfort their demands for food, electricity, and clean water will continue to strain the earth’s resources.
“The last thing to come out of Pandora’s box was hope. It’s the first thing I have every morning when I get up.”
Thankfully, 8 Billion Angelsisn’t all doom and gloom. It comes with a heaping serving of hope, in the shape of suggestions to fix the problem. Its emphasis on female education, healthcare, and autonomy is sure to be welcomed by almost all viewers. One expert’s suggestion that parents should justify their decision to have children will likely be less appreciated, particularly by people with large families.
This documentary’s greatest contribution is not in its environmental warnings – which are familiar to anyone who has been watching nature-focused documentaries in the past few years. Its biggest selling feature is its emphasis on the divergence between those who cause most of the greenhouse gas emissions and those who suffer the most dire effects of climate change and economic degradation. When the film points out that one American child has the same environmental costs as 40 Bangladeshi children, it makes viewers take a hard look at their own consumption patterns. This can make 8 Billion Angels a useful tool for prompting serious discussions with teenagers – both about what they think about environmental stressors and what they plan to do about it. After all, as one of the experts in the film reminds us, “Action is the antidote to despair.”Directed by Victor Velle. Starring Jason Hall-Spencer, Katsuo Inaba, Vimlendu Jha. Running time: 76 minutes. Theatrical release April 20, 2021. Updated April 20, 2021
Watch the trailer for 8 Billion Angels
8 Billion Angels
Rating & Content Info
Why is 8 Billion Angels rated Not Rated? 8 Billion Angels is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: None noted.
Sexual Content: None noted.
Profanity: None noted.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.
Page last updated April 20, 2021
8 Billion Angels Parents' Guide
What do you think are the most serious environmental problems the earth faces today?
Earth.org: Ocean acidification
National Geographic: If You Think the Water Crisis Can’t Get Worse, Wait Until the Aquifers Are Drained
National Ocean Service: What is nutrient pollution?
Do you agree that reducing population is critical? Or do you think there are potential technological changes that would allow the earth to support more people? Earth’s population growth is already slowing, with precipitous declines predicted by the end of the century. Do you think governments and other social actors need to encourage that process to be accelerated?
Australian Academy of Science: Population and environment: a global challenge
Our World in Data: Future Population Growth
Vox: I’m an environmental journalist, but I never write about overpopulation. Here’s why (A swear word is used in this article.)
What do you think would be the benefits of falling populations? What do you think the costs would be? What are the economic side effects of declining populations? Do you think those negative side effects can be ameliorated?
Population Education: What are the Benefits of Slower Population Growth?
BBC: Fertility rate: Jaw-dropping global crash in children being born
CBS News: Population Decline Is Bad For Us
Why do you think educating women reduces population growth and improves the environment? What are the challenges facing girls who want to obtain an education in the developing world?
Unicef: Girls’ education
One of the experts in the film says, “When I pray it’s to have courage to do what I can to protect the beautiful planet we have and to seek justice for its peoples.” What can you do to reduce your economic footprint? What do you think are the best solutions for improving the health of our planet’s environment?
Project Drawdown: Solutions
Related home video titles:
Environmental icon David Attenborough encourages us to save earth’s biodiversity in his film, part memoir and part nature documentary, David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet.
For an early warning about global climate change, you can watch the documentary that catapulted the issue into the general conversation, An Inconvenient Truth. A young climate activist who has made climate change the center of her life is Greta Thunberg, whose story is told in I Am Greta. Famed actor Leonardo DiCaprio also tackles complex environmental issues in his own doc, The 11th Hour.
If you want a more hopeful documentary, The Biggest Little Farm tells the joyful story of a young couple who bought ecologically devastated land and used natural farming methods to transform it into a lush productive farm.