TED : Ideas worth spreading

Review: The case for having kids

Speaker: Wajahat Ali
TED2019
Date: April 2019
Location: Vancouver, BC

Description from TED website:
The global fertility rate, or the number of children per woman, has halved over the last 50 years. What will having fewer babies mean for the future of humanity? In this funny, eye-opening talk, journalist (and self-described exhausted dad) Wajahat Ali examines how the current trend could lead to unexpected problems — and shares why he believes we need to make it easier for people to have babies. "For those who can and choose to, may you pass on this beautiful thing called life with kindness, generosity, decency, and love," he says.

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My Review / Notes / Thoughts

This talk was extremely interesting and thought-provoking (then again, what TED talk isn’t?). However, I will give you a warning that the ending is heartbreaking … so just be prepared if you watch it.

Anyway, he talks about how many children are needed to be born to ensure that we have an adequate labor force for the future. Guess what…countries are falling MAJORLY short of those numbers. By the way, did you notice that this talk was given in 2019 … a year before COVID-19 hit?

Perhaps the COVID-19 pandemic will result in higher birthrates. Of course, now we have to offset the losses caused by the pandemic. I would certainly like to hear what Ali has to say as an update to his talk. How has the gap widened since COVID-19? I’m sure it has.

So, what are some ways to possibly use this TED talk as a discussion and engagement opportunity with students? Well…here are some of my ideas:

  • Political science/government classes could discuss different methods that governments might try enticing their populations to have more children.
  • History classes could look at the current situation and compare it to past situations, like the pandemic in the early 1900’s … or even earlier cases of plagues, etc.
  • Business/finance classes could look at the impact on individuals, communities, states, and nations.
  • Health science classes might look at how this affects various aspects of community health and wellbeing, herd immunity, or even advancements (or lack thereof) in medicine.

I’m sure there are a lot more ideas that could be derived from this talk. What are some of your ideas? How could you see this talk being used in the classroom to encourage discussion and engagement?


Until next time … live long life-learner!

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