7 billion stories | Inquirer Opinion
Human Face

7 billion stories

/ 01:11 AM November 03, 2011

After the official announcement by international population experts that the number of human beings living on Planet Earth reached the seven billion mark on Oct. 31, 2011, after events have been staged and symbolic 7 billionth babies have been presented, photographed and assured of a good future, after the number crunching has been done and pop population puzzles have been created and solved (e.g., it will take 200 years for one person to count aloud from 1 to 7 billion, that is, if he or she lives that long)… what now?

There are many sites on the Internet that tackle the “7 billion” watchamacallit. Is it a phenomenon, a problem, a feat, a failure? National Geographic (NG) has come out with a series on the “7 billion” during the past months. If you are a subscriber you would have a billion interesting stuff to read.


NG and Apple’s iTunes have even come up with the free “7 billion app,” an application that would allow you to browse, read, listen to and watch so many things related to the “7 billion” so-called. But this could only be done on an iPad. iTunes alone on your PC or laptop would not work. And since I do not have an iPad, I could not tap into the breathtaking stories, photos and graphics. I clicked what were clickable and got a good idea of what it was all about.

But there are other interactive sites on the “7 billion,” like the one offering syllabi for school teachers and two-minute video contests for the young. (The majority of winners showed their worry about water supply.)


One site, called “7 Billion Actions” was put up by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). One of its features is “7 Billion Stories” that invites everyone to share their stories (and a photograph, of course) and what they could do to make this world of 7 billion a better place.

The stories (600 characters maximum) are heartwarming, inspiring and spontaneous. I found several from the Philippines. You could add yours. Don’t be shy to shout from the rooftops and tell the world about what you do. The crooks of this world strut about with impunity and even brag about their stealing rights, so why hide the good that you do under a bushel? Your story is your digital pledge on cyberspace.

The come-on: “Around the world, individuals are taking positive, meaningful action to make the world a better place. Teachers, doctors, government officials, parents… people everywhere are contributing in personal, unique and innovative ways to a global movement for all humanity. 7 Billion Stories is a collaborative initiative to collect and distribute these stories of people making a difference. By sharing your story, you can inspire others to get involved and take action in helping for a better world. You can also search for—and connect to—people whose stories of change are similar to yours.”

Already, the stories and photos are forming a mosaic, a hopeful global map of the future. And so I got tempted to add my own, with a photo showing the stunning Mayon Volcano in the background.

Here are some stories:

I am an environmentalist. I travel from north to south of the Philippines to see the effects of climate change. One of the most important factors in the restoration of our environment is the concern of the tribal communities for their natural habitat. I travel by foot, by boat, by ship and airplane to make an awareness program for tribal people to understand their relevance and responsibility to preserve their habitat.—Mary Jane Molina, Philippines

I am working to be a sustainable world-citizen. Working as a technical trainer for a large software company, I want to realize my dream of using technology to enhance the lives of the underserved populations of the world. Instead of leaving to work for a non-profit, I was able to create a new role for myself with the help of my employer, as an online community advocate and technical evangelist. So now I get to help a large community of developers and business experts apply their skills to topics of social responsibility and sustainability concerns. I have the backing of a corporation and work with an inspiring development community.—Marilyn Pratt, USA


I am a world citizen. As a person who believes in the equality of all individuals, regardless of any kind of discrimination, I teach children who have limited access to education. I believe that as the awareness grows, we will have billions of hopes toward a better planet for billions of people.—Ayla Deniz, Turkey

I am a new mother and afraid… My beautiful daughter Iris Eliza Hornsby was born on the 29th March 2011 and is almost 7 months old. 7 billion people scares me, because my precious baby is only one of these, so small and insignificant like an ant, but yet I want her to find her own place in this huge, frightening, confusing world of ours and to make a difference, somehow, if that is still possible. I am 30 years old and sometimes I feel there is no hope left, yet I can’t let my daughter see how cruel a world we now live in.—Rowan Martin, UK

I’m known on social media as “GhanabaKwamena,” a score-and-one-year-old activist, music & social media freak…lols. Ever since my exposure to development issues of young people as a member of Curious Minds Ghana (Children and Youth in Broadcasting) in 2008, I have lived, eaten, dreamt, talked and walked ADVOCACY together with other young advocates in my country Ghana. I blog on any development issues worth addressing that I come across—using media (including Social Media) to effect Change. Every week my friends and I are on national radio to advocate for young people!—Cecil Dadzie, Ghana

Log on. It’s cool.

* * *

On November 6, read a glossier, thicker Sunday Inquirer Magazine. It now comes out every first Sunday of the month.

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