Maps that show us who we are (not just where we are) | Danny Dorling

Maps that show us who we are (not just where we are) | Danny Dorling

I’d like you to imagine the world anew. I’d like to show you some maps, which have been drawn by Ben Hennig, of the planet in a way that most of you will never
have seen the planet depicted before. Here’s an image
that you’re very familiar with. I’m old enough that I was actually born
before we saw this image. Apparently some of my first words
were “moona, moona,” but I think that’s my mom
having a particular fantasy about what her baby boy could see on the flickering
black and white TV screen. It’s only been a few centuries since we’ve actually, most of us,
thought of our planet as spherical. When we first saw
these images in the 1960s, the world was changing
at an incredible rate. In my own little discipline
of human geography, a cartographer called Waldo Tobler was drawing new maps of the planet, and these maps have now spread, and I’m going to show you one of them now. This map is a map of the world, but it’s a map which looks to you a little bit strange. It’s a map in which we stretched places, so that those areas which contain
many people are drawn larger, and those areas,
like the Sahara and the Himalayas, in which there are few people,
have been shrunk away. Everybody on the planet
is given an equal amount of space. The cities are shown shining bright. The lines are showing you
submarine cables and trade routes. And there’s one particular line
that goes from the Chinese port of Dalian through past Singapore, through the Suez Canal, through the Mediterranean
and round to Rotterdam. And it’s showing you the route of what was the world’s
largest ship just a year ago, a ship which was taking
so many containers of goods that when they were unloaded, if the lorries had all gone in convoy,
they would have been 100 kilometers long. This is how our world is now connected. This is the quantity of stuff
we are now moving around the world, just on one ship, on one voyage, in five weeks. We’ve lived in cities
for a very long time, but most of us didn’t live in cities. This is Çatalhöyük,
one of the world’s first cities. At its peak 9,000 years ago, people had to walk over the roofs
of others’ houses to get to their home. If you look carefully
at the map of the city, you’ll see it has no streets, because streets are something we invented. The world changes. It changes by trial and error. We work out slowly and gradually how to live in better ways. And the world has changed
incredibly quickly most recently. It’s only within the last six,
seven, or eight generations that we have actually realized
that we are a species. It’s only within the last few decades that a map like this could be drawn. Again, the underlying map
is the map of world population, but over it, you’re seeing arrows
showing how we spread out of Africa with dates showing you
where we think we arrived at particular times. I have to redraw this map
every few months, because somebody makes a discovery
that a particular date was wrong. We are learning about ourselves
at an incredible speed. And we’re changing. A lot of change is gradual. It’s accretion. We don’t notice the change because we only have short lives, 70, 80, if you’re lucky 90 years. This graph is showing you the annual rate of population
growth in the world. It was very low until around about 1850, and then the rate of population growth began to rise so that around the time I was born, when we first saw those images
from the moon of our planet, our global population
was growing at two percent a year. If it had carried on growing
at two percent a year for just another couple of centuries, the entire planet would be covered with a seething mass of human bodies all touching each other. And people were scared. They were scared of population growth and what they called
“the population bomb” in 1968. But then, if you look
at the end of the graph, the growth began to slow. The decade — the ’70s, the ’80s,
the ’90s, the noughties, and in this decade, even faster — our population growth is slowing. Our planet is stabilizing. We are heading towards nine,
10, or 11 billion people by the end of the century. Within that change, you can see tumult. You can see the Second World War. You can see the pandemic
in 1918 from influenza. You can see the great Chinese famine. These are the events
we tend to concentrate on. We tend to concentrate
on the terrible events in the news. We don’t tend to concentrate
on the gradual change and the good news stories. We worry about people. We worry about how many people there are. We worry about how you can
get away from people. But this is the map of the world
changed again to make area large, the further away
people are from each area. So if you want to know
where to go to get away from everybody, here’s the best places to go. And every year, these areas get bigger, because every year,
we are coming off the land globally. We are moving into the cities. We are packing in more densely. There are wolves again in Europe, and the wolves are moving west
across the continent. Our world is changing. You have worries. This is a map showing
where the water falls on our planet. We now know that. And you can look at where Çatalhöyük was, where three continents meet,
Africa, Asia, and Europe, and you can see there are
a large number of people living there in areas with very little water. And you can see areas in which
there is a great deal of rainfall as well. And we can get a bit more sophisticated. Instead of making
the map be shaped by people, we can shape the map by water, and then we can change it every month to show the amount of water falling on every small part of the globe. And you see the monsoons
moving around the planet, and the planet almost appears
to have a heartbeat. And all of this only became possible within my lifetime to see this is where we are living. We have enough water. This is a map of where
we grow our food in the world. This is the areas that we will rely on
most for rice and maize and corn. People worry that there won’t
be enough food, but we know, if we just ate less meat
and fed less of the crops to animals, there is enough food for everybody as long as we think of ourselves
as one group of people. And we also know about what we do so terribly badly nowadays. You will have seen this map
of the world before. This is the map produced by taking satellite images, if you remember those satellites
around the planet in the very first slide I showed, and producing an image
of what the Earth looks like at night. When you normally see that map, on a normal map, the kind of map
that most of you will be used to, you think you are seeing
a map of where people live. Where the lights are shining up
is where people live. But here, on this image of the world, remember we’ve stretched the map again. Everywhere has the same density
of people on this map. If an area doesn’t have people, we’ve shrunk it away to make it disappear. So we’re showing everybody with equal prominence. Now, the lights no longer show you
where people are, because people are everywhere. Now the lights on the map, the lights in London,
the lights in Cairo, the lights in Tokyo, the lights on the Eastern Seaboard
of the United States, the lights show you where people live who are so profligate with energy that they can afford to spend money powering lights to shine up into the sky, so satellites can draw an image like this. And the areas that are dark on the map are either areas where people
do not have access to that much energy, or areas where people do, but they have learned to stop
shining the light up into the sky. And if I could show you this map
animated over time, you would see that Tokyo
has actually become darker, because ever since the tsunami in Japan, Japan has had to rely
on a quarter less electricity because it turned
the nuclear power stations off. And the world didn’t end. You just shone less light up into the sky. There are a huge number of good news stories in the world. Infant mortality is falling and has been falling
at an incredible rate. A few years ago, the number of babies dying
in their first year of life in the world fell by five percent in just one year. More children are going to school and learning to read and write and getting connected to the Internet and going on to go to university than ever before at an incredible rate, and the highest number of young people
going to university in the world are women, not men. I can give you good news story
after good news story about what is getting
better in the planet, but we tend to concentrate on the bad news that is immediate. Rebecca Solnit, I think,
put it brilliantly, when she explained: “The accretion
of incremental, imperceptible changes which can constitute progress
and which render our era dramatically different from the past” — the past was much more stable — “a contrast obscured by the undramatic
nature of gradual transformation, punctuated by occasional tumult.” Occasionally, terrible things happen. You are shown those terrible things on the news every night of the week. You are not told about
the population slowing down. You are not told about the world
becoming more connected. You are not told about the incredible
improvements in understanding. You are not told about
how we are learning to begin to waste less and consume less. This is my last map. On this map, we have taken the seas and the oceans out. Now you are just looking at about 7.4 billion people with the map drawn
in proportion to those people. You’re looking at over a billion in China, and you can see the largest
city in the world in China, but you do not know its name. You can see that India is in the center of this world. You can see that Europe is on the edge. And we in Exeter today are on the far edge of the planet. We are on a tiny scrap of rock off Europe which contains less than one percent of the world’s adults, and less than half a percent of the world’s children. We are living in a stabilizing world,
an urbanizing world, an aging world, a connecting world. There are many, many things
to be frightened about, but there is no need for us
to fear each other as much as we do, and we need to see
that we are now living in a new world. Thank you very much. (Applause)


  • Noble Kauo

    that map arrow to hawaii is wrong

  • Witty Name

    Some times when im at school i cant wait so i just finger myself in the bathrooms.

  • Baghuul

    It's nonsense. This notion that because we are people and bleed red, that somehow there is no difference between the thousands of cultures. More circle jerk kumbaya mumbo jumbo.

  • Marina Capri

    Please show a map where the most violent people live and another map where the most gentle people live. How about a map where the most intelligent people live and the lowest intelligent people live.

  • Erik Rimes

    Be vawy vawy quiet… I'm hunting stwang maps.

  • J- me

    the guy lisp makes him sounds disabled and the graphics look stupid

  • 4mpersand

    I bought his book almost a decade ago. Wonderful work, and glad to see it's getting the press it needs to go mainstream.

  • OIlie Warren

    Lucky he did this talk before Brexit and then Trump

  • Complex Objects

    Math is a powerful thing

  • Jasseen Maylor Bey


  • shdhd d

    as long as we try to fix the bad news stories

  • Leroy Stumps

    Anyone else think the thumbnail was vacation clothes in a spacebag?

  • Dani Lillico

    WHere da faq is canada hmmmmmmm


    White mans guilt blah blah blah. Maybe africans should try help themself.

  • The Chidds

    How is it a "good" thing that more women are now going to university than men? Reverse the situation and this guy would be instantly branded a sexist for calling it "good."

  • billpuppies

    His lecture should be this – "Hi, I make maps. It's called cartography. Here are some maps I made. Now I will say a bunch of crap to make it all sound dramatic and important, because I would rather be drawing comic books."

  • Em T

    I'm so happy to see Dhaka in the last map :'3

  • Joanna XU

    the media show us the bad news and that make us feel the darkness and hopeless, we have to know the good part

  • Mitchell Eersel

    Great show!! The maps we need not the maps were shown!! I am gonna keep this maps close by to show to the pessimists!! We are change!

  • rebel yano

    did anyone get why it was bad to have lights shine up on the satelities?

  • Carloswith Ahat

    he doesn't seem to care about the topic at all, he isn't getting excited or passionate and talks in the most monotone voice I've ever heard. this would be more interesting if it was a two minute video where he didn't talk and just showed the maps with annotations. one of the worst talks I've ever heard

  • theviper1999uk

    um, people have thought the world was round for thousands of years

  • Miguel Arregui


    lol no he just said estoy the gym is the best of the day i m a las week and a week j nom jbnn hnjolnk mjmkjgh a father and a son a brother a man who was the father for the son who

  • Ena p

    Why istn't there something like The positive news, which only shows all the great, positive things that happen everyday in the world in stead of only the bad things

  • mhtinla

    INDIA is the center of the world? It's only in the perspective. We live in a stabilizing world? These maps don't tell you that. This guy obviously has his own hidden agenda. So I googled his name… no surprise he's a SJW from UK

  • Jan Cerny

    It's astonishing to think–if the migration map is correct on its dates–that England remained uninhabited for generations after South America was settled.

  • Nick Alexander

    Sounds like Rik Mayall in "The Young Ones"

  • Ranald Hooper

    Population growth is not the problem!…'s greed and fear!

  • Knightonagreyhorse

    6:22 Europe looks like a withered ruccola.

  • Ed Hugh

    IMHO transforming the map like in the video is not intuitive or not so conclusive and kinda confusing compared to just using colors (like from red-orange-yellow-green) to represent densities of variable divided by territories. Overall these maps visualized things but these kinds of map don't give me clear detailed information.

  • yer man


  • niaj arslyn

    educating stuff but the accent makes me rewind for some words.

  • cc 34

    Why is it good that MORE women than men are going to school. You would hope for something close to 50/50 But women now get 60% of undergraduate degrees, which is largely a story of how schools are failing boys.

  • José Jorge Matute


  • 12345a

    I legit clapped after the end of this video
    Great talk . The kind of talk which helps you remember that belong all our nationalities , our "differences" , we are all human beings.
    And only together can we find ways to take our species , and I say this with love towards our species , to the next level.

    You are not Chinese , he is not Russian , I am not Indian , we are all one , together living on this rocky planet in the middle of nowhere.

  • 12345a

    One important thing he forgot to acknowledge , is that though population growth rate is decreasing ,
    Human population a century ago was only 1.6 billion , which is roughly 1/6 or 0.16x of todays population.

    Which is to say that a small increase in a large chunk is way more than a large increase in a small chunk

  • Anonymous Owl

    I imagine the movie Inferno

  • Criticalirica Joekerr


  • Black Jesus

    I can't stand this guy's voice!

  • Ryan Husband

    what does he mean when he says "but you do not know its name" at 13:00 ?

  • Omkar Parab

    Wow!!! :^)

  • Alessandro Scott

    cool when i we gonna design a new economy?

  • coreycox2345

    Thank you for showing these things in this original way. I love maps. Everything has a spatial application. I ended up becoming an urban planner because I love throwing data on maps. It can be so revealing. Ian McHarg's Design With Nature is one of my favorite books.

  • Waqar Latif

    Fake. most of the maps are not representing right.

  • susan xD

    We need more professors like this speaker

  • Zehnstern Astrologie

    …a blackening, yellowing, browning and musliming world.

  • 216trixie


  • vitvarg1

    Good talk. However, more women in higher education than men is NOT "good news". That just means we now have inequality in the other direction…

  • Power of science

    I love his voice

  • Kelly Watkins

    Of course the planet has a heartbeat

  • Bhupinder Tube

    I suggest you to start your news channel, I'll definitely watch! Thanks a lot.

  • Philip Fong

    MEANINGLESS, like nothing to talk about after dinner, population only slowed down in Western countries not the Indian and China, extra human traffic their own children because they are easy and cheap to pruduce. Is there a message in this video?

  • An unexamined life

    Who gave the priest from A Princess Bride a TED Talk?

  • 1K himself

    and soon a brave new World…

  • Alexanara Shevchuk

    The Earth is flat! Don't be blind.

  • Floydimus


  • Abhijith Pattanashetti

    I liked this video. it's so much with positivity

  • Ara Celli

    "If we eat less meat, feed less crops to the animals, we would have adequate food."
    You're telling me to become a vegan, eh?

  • Luboman411

    The "where we grow our food" map is fascinating. India grows more food than China, which surprised me, and Brazil grows a lot less considering how big that country is.

  • 7years Ryugami

    be weawie weawie afwaid.

  • Christopher Ellis

    what makes him state that only a few centuries ago, most people did not know that the earth be a sphere? misinformed hyperbole for the sake of rhetoric , or just plain ignorance?

  • Samantha Esra

    one of the most excellent demos I've seen for long time.

  • Samantha Esra

    Africa can not afford to waste electricity. I save myself on electric in my own house in S.A..I noticed when I was in Middle East how much electricity is used.

  • J man

    boring maps, if i have the datas, the maps will be more interesting. what a waste of time to prepare these maps, talk, and waste of time to watch.

  • Lord Bills

    What was his goal again??

  • Yukha Dharmeswara

    13:25 i'm happy Indonesia isn't that big as India and China, but they could draw Indonesia larger… I hope WE find a way to cure the inflammation of our group.

  • trexpaddock

    So much misinformation . . . . does no one screen these speakers?

  • Ross McDowall

    The spherical thing is a myth everyone knew that

  • Lolr0

    1:11 , it seems as if his shadow is lagging. Is it just me or do you guys see it aswell? o.O

  • Liz Hellsing

    Love this, gives you a nice new perspective

  • Leonidas GGG

    What is this? A talk of Hope? At the end of 2016?… Nonsense surelly. 😛

  • Michael Lowrey

    go vegan

  • Conor Oneill

    his voice is horrible, who was in charge of making him their speaker? I hope for his sake he isn't a professional speaker

  • Duck Man

    And he didn't even mention carbon emissions

  • Red

    Best talk ever

  • sirdeadlock

    Where in my local newspaper can I find the "good news" section?

  • Belletaina


  • Helena Hotmonica

    How informative to get to know the fact that the world we live in is getting more connected every day. We are so bombarded by every day bad issues and fail to see that the world we live in is actually making room for everyone, as long as we put aside our ego

  • Saalk Gonzales

    Brilliant work!

  • Talking Yellow Bitch With An Extensive Vocabulary

    why does he pronounce R's like W's kinda like Bugs Bunny

  • ψ Ɖǟʀӄηεζζ ψ


  • flblbl

    that vegan agenda that appears out of nowhere in the middle yikes

  • Leo Jakobsen

    egg Video truly sounds strongly ubellezable performer .

  • well

    This… is alleviating anxiety?

  • Necrom

    Incredible rate.

  • Jakob Dering

    That's a fun way of data presentation, but I would not say it's eye-opening.

  • Music I. Like

    We've known the world as spherical since the ancient Greeks.

  • Bacon Wizard

    (9:40) funny how Britain doesn't change through out the year, seems pretty actuate.

  • Bloodie R

    can someone explain what was this talk about sort and simple?

  • TheGerogero

    Discount Hans Rosling

  • Mlp L

    probably the statistics don't include all children that have dead in Sirya, refugees, etc. that's the reality now. And don't know why, but people feel more comfortable when listen information with stadistics. we have to know that statistics aren't completely factual

  • Veritas Man


  • KonstantinGeist

    I think lights reflect density of cities more than anything else. In Western Europe, there are lots of little towns in a few KM from each other and they're equally spread out. So you have huge glowing spots because lights from numerous neighboring settlements all merge into one large spot. On the other hand, in Eastern European countries like Russia, you have one city, then 200 km of wilderness, then again a city. So you have a lot of dark areas and a few small spots here and there.

  • Obsession of the Month

    wuv… twu wuv.

  • Luciano Freire

    Sooooooo ???

  • Obsidian Nebula

    What a lame talk…I would've done it all in 6 minutes and would be much more engaging

  • Steve Deasy

    Exceptional depth. A visionary model of how to work for change. Subtle is profound.

  • Sunny Thymes

    There is a better way…🔊🍃🤗👏⭐💚💙🌞🌻
    🐥🌟 Please

  • Do a Flip!

    So I’m doing a project on this someone help me out what is the main idea and how is it relevant to today’s world

  • Shreya Kancham

    who else is here because of ap human geography…


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