Inspired by the well-known "World Population" video that depicts 2000 years of population growth as lights on a world map popping on faster and faster, "Minnesota Population" puts lights on a state map. Bar graphs next to the map show several key resources declining over time. This video has a strong impact upon viewers, since they see both population growth and resource depletion at the same time!
The video is narrated by high school students Kristin Reid and Ana Kari, from atop a building in downtown St. Paul. They explain why population growth is not just a problem in other parts of the world, but also right here in Minnesota.
Each yellow dot on the map represents 5000 people. The rust-colored column represents the amount of iron ore in the state, a non-renewable resource. The brown column represents the amount of topsoil in the state, a renewable resource that grows back very slowly. The green column -- which starts out at 0 -- represents wheat production, a renewable resource that is dependent upon other resources such as fertile soil, water, labor, and petroleum.
The animation proceeds from 1850 to 2025 at a rate of one year per second. As in the "World Population" video, the dots represent increasing numbers of people -- in this case 5,000 per dot.
The graphs clearly show the depletion of our iron and topsoil reserves, as well as the difficulty we have had in sustaining high levels of agricultural production for even a few years at a time.
Kristin and Ana go on to explain the concept of an Ecological Footprint, the amount of land needed to sustainably provide resources for a group of people. When a population such as that of the Twin Cities has a footprint larger than the land available, natural resources are depleted. Population growth also causes local problems such as traffic congestion, housing shortages, and suburban "sprawl."
We would like to thank LVI Media Productions owner Dirk Dantuma and his staff for their partnership in this project. While we had pages full of data and some ideas of what we hoped to produce, we had no prior experience in video production. It was Dirk and crew who helped us bring our vision to video. We are also indebted to the United States Bureau of the Census, the Minnesota Department of Planning, The Metropolitan Council, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Minnesota Mining Directory for the data represented in the video.