When graphic designer Jack Hagley was a kid, his mom received a chain email from his grandma. It was the mid 90's so chain emails were the rage. Kinda like slap bracelets and early MTV (the good ole days). The email broke the world's population down to 100 people. Jack's mom did what any good mother would do and pinned it up in the kitchen to instill some values. Something about this resonated with Hagley because decades later, he's converted that info into something updated and visually consumable (source + history).
This is 'The World as 100 People'.
Ben: Why do you think this info stuck with you for so long?
Jack: I didn't understand percentages at the time, but a child can understand one-person-out-of-a-hundred. I'm not sure why it stuck with me. I guess it was because I had a feeling that it could be done in a different way, or that there was a story in there somewhere that I wanted to tell. I'm not sure if I really thought about entirely what it means when I was a kid.
As someone who was enormously lucky to have a very happy childhood in England, it was hard to imagine there are a great many others in the world that don't get a childhood at all or even have clean water. Seeing it broken down into 100 people somehow makes it more real. They are numbers small enough to be tangible, in the same way that millions and billions are impersonal and abstract.
A million people is a statistic. One person is my neighbour.
And you keep releasing new translations.
Ya, but even if I translate this into every language on the chart, only about 32 people will be able to understand it. Of those, about 9 would even have access to the Internet!
'The World as 100 People' in Arabic
What's the detaily stuff you were aware of when creating the piece?
I made it round because the world is round. I made it in the colours of the flags of the world, because this is a story about all of us here on spaceship Earth. I wanted it to be understood by as many people as possible.
I read about something called the Overview effect (from the wikipedia page) - It refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, "hanging in the void", shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, astronauts claim, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this "pale blue dot" becomes both obvious and imperative.
I found out about this only after I made the Infographic, but it seems to me a pretty cool thing to think.
That's some big picture thinking.
Perhaps it would be much easier around the world if we all could experience this? Do I think this work can do this? I'm not sure, but it doesn't hurt to put it out there and see what happens. Although I am being selfish: I just want us to build the space elevator in my lifetime. I want to party on the moon.
Shout out to Jack for this piece being featured on The Washington Post website recently, as well. Congrats!
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