Many people don’t like to talk about numbers because they find it boring. Now, imagine yourself talking about exponential growth and how it relates not only to business but also to population growth and sustainability. Do you think people will listen?
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The greatest shortcoming of the human race is man’s inability to understand the exponential function
Dr. Bartlett is a physics emeritus professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He’s known for his lecture on Arithmetic, Population, and Energy, which he has delivered more than 1,742 times.
Bartlett has a distinct view on sustainable growth, which he believes is a contradiction. He argued that compound growth would result in massive increases. Take for example in the world of investing, if a person earns a constant 7% return on his investment, his capital will increase by two-folds within a decade. Basically, patient and resilient investors can benefit greatly from exponential growth.
But if the same concept is applied to the human race, the result will be catastrophic. Bartlett argued that if the population of a community that has 10,000 people continues to grow at a constant rate of 7% per year, the community would see a massive increase in its population size, about 10 million after 100 years.
Bartlett pointed out that “the greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand exponential growth.” In his lectures, he constantly talked about overpopulation and promoted sustainable living. He cited the first law of sustainability, which says growth in the rates of consumption is unsustainable.
One of his major intellectual influences was Robert Malthus who predicted in his 1798 essay that there would be mass starvation because the world’s population growth would outpace food production.
He acknowledged the people who worked diligently to discuss sustainability topics. However, he also pointed out that they never touched on the subject of population growth, which is obviously linked to the existing and impending sustainability problems.
We managed to find a video of Dr. Bartlett’s lecture about this topic, which we hope will make you realize the alarming truth that we are facing today. Without further ado, here’s the video of his presentation.
Bartlett heavily criticized population growth, which he said would never pay for itself. He pointed out that building more infrastructures will not solve the population problem but would worsen it instead. Not only that, it’ll only pave the way for bigger obstacles to deal with in the future. People, especially those who are in power, should not invite but tackle the topic about population head-on.
Throughout his career, Bartlett has had a lot of fans and admirers, particularly in the science community. Now that you’ve watched his presentation, do you now realize the danger that we are all living in right now? As our population grows at a massive pace, it’s only a matter of time before nature solves the problem for us. The human race needs to move fast. If we don’t, Mother Nature, which we claim to love so dearly yet neglect constantly, will fix this problem for us through disease, war, and famine.
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Recommended for further reading:
- Practical Self-sufficiency: The complete guide to sustainable living today
- Live Green: 52 steps for a more sustainable life
- Sustainable Home: Practical projects, tips and advice for maintaining a more eco-friendly
- 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste
- Natural Living Style: Inspirational ideas for a beautiful and sustainable home