Rethinking Assumptions

Certainly person-on-the-street surveys are no accurate depiction of the knowledge base of humanity, but I was surprised by a recent video I saw from Population Action International that asked people questions like "What is the world's population?" and "How will 7 billion affect you?" I've already seen a fair number of news stories in the mainstream media about the upcoming milestone, and not too long ago we did a post mentioning a few resources about population, so I thought that a fair number of people would be aware. After all, population is one of the most important issues related to the health and well-being of people, animals and the earth. But, the people in the video not only had no clue about the numbers, they were pretty ill-informed about how a large and burgeoning population affects us. Check out the video (just over 90 seconds):

How Many People Are In the World Today? from Population Action International on Vimeo.


I think this is a great reminder for humane educators and activists how important it is NOT to make assumptions about what people already know. We shouldn't assume they know about factory farming or child slavery or sweatshops or renewable energy or a 7 billion population. It's easy to think that everyone's on the same page when we're immersed in this kind of information on a daily basis. But, we need to start where people are, not where we think they ought to be, and build bridges from there.

When have you made assumptions about what people know?

~ Marsha

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