This amazing 13 minute Ted Talk by Hans Rosling dispels the idea that the world is headed towards overpopulation. His dynamic graph will have intermediate and senior students open-mouthed with awe. By 2050 our world population will have peaked.
A wonderful companion book which further explores the idea of mapping data to reveal patterns is The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson. The Ghost Map is a medical thriller about the year 1854 when Cholera gripped London England and people started dying and no one knew why. The book tells the story of two brave men, Reverend Henry Whitehead, and Dr. John Snow, whose ideas about contagion were dismissed by the scientific community, and how they worked to solve the medical riddle of the age. The book also is a wonderful mix of ideas about the evolution of civilization, the development of cities, and predictions about future population trends.