By Frosty Wooldridge
Part 3: Quotes that make impact on America and around the world, species expansion, carrying capacity, exponential growth:
“Unlimited population growth cannot be sustained; you cannot sustain growth in the rates of consumption of resources. No species can overrun the carrying capacity of a finite land mass. This Law cannot be repealed and is not negotiable.” Dr. Albert Bartlett, www.albartlett.org , University of Colorado, USA.
Dr. Bartlett speaks around the world with his brilliant presentation: “Arithmetic, population and energy.” You may access his YouTube presentation or visit his website to view the entire presentation.
In his lecture, both humorous and sobering at the same time, Bartlett presents audiences with irrefutable science as to the end result of “exponential growth.” We humans, thinking we enjoy some kind of dispensation from reality or the Pope for that matter, continue adding 80 million of ourselves annually, net gain. Again, we pro-create another one billion of ourselves onto this finite planet every 12 years. Already at an unsustainable 7.1 billion, we expect to reach 10 billion by mid century—a mere 37 years from now.
Each year, the United States adds 3.1 million people, net gain, to its current 315.5 million population. In 1963, America featured a manageable 194 million people. American women averaged 2.03 children each. We citizens chose to stabilize our population based on our water, energy, resources, quality of life and standard of living needs. Our population would have leveled out at 255 million by 1990. However, our U.S. Congress decided to import over 100 million immigrants and their subsequent children from 1965 to 2007. Currently, we gallop along the path to add another 100 million by 2035 and 138 million to reach 438 million by 2050.
In 2013, cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Denver, New York, Houston and many more feature horrific traffic congestion, toxic air pollution, crippling environmental problems and loss of quality of life. Infrastructure crumbles, massive unemployment prevails, poverty swells and no one can figure out how to solve our enormous problems.
Nonetheless, Congress imports another 100,000 immigrants every 30 days. They arrive from already overloaded countries around the world. Note: they come from the 80 million added people annually around the globe. They, in turn, birth 900,000 babies annually. (Source: Dr. Steven Camorata, www.cis.org) Thus, the United States adds, from population momentum, immigration and birthrates—3.1 million annually. (Source: US Population Projections by Fogel/Martin, PEW Research Center)
Unlimited population growth cannot be sustained
What did Dr. Bartlett mean by the statement: “Unlimited population growth cannot be sustained”? What does he mean by “exponential growth”?
Exponential growth means that some quantity grows by a fixed percentage rate from one year to the next. A handy formula for calculating the doubling time for exponential growth: a survey of Boulder, Colorado residents about the optimal size for growth returned a result that most residents thought that a growth in population at the rate of 10% per year was desirable.
Ten percent year may not seem innocuous but let’s see how these numbers would add up:
* Year 1 60,000
* Year 2 66,000
* year 3 72,600
* Year 4 79860
* Year 5 87846
* Year 6 96630
* year 7 106294
* Year 8 116923
So, in seven years, the population doubles and by then 10,000 new residents per year move to Boulder. (or any city) Exponential growth, in general, is not understood by the public. If exponential use of a resource is not accounted for in planning – disaster will happen, i.e. water shortages, energy depletion and resource exhaustion. The difference between linear growth and exponential growth is astonishing.
The residents of Easter Island, after they pursued exponential growth for decades, collapsed and caused the extinction of their entire civilization. In other words, they ate themselves out of house and home. Every civilization faces the same fate if it continues exponential growth.
Unfortunately, in 2013, the United States heads down the exact same path as Easter Island. Grow, grow, grow! No Plan A, no Plan B, no reasonable understanding of its predicament! A small percentage of power elites that lead our country lack any conceptual understanding of “exponential growth.” Thus, they encourage ever greater population growth. Millions of American citizens ride in the same boat and espouse endless population growth—as if the problems we already face can be solved by such arrogance and stupidity.
Dr. Bartlett also said, ““Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases of population, locally, nationally, or globally?”
Can you? Can anyone? Answer: no! We cannot clear up the toxic brown clouds hovering above our cities by adding more people, more cars and more exhaust chimneys to those cities. We cannot solve the acid rain or acidification of our oceans by adding more people, homes and cars. We cannot create more fresh water for the seven states now experiencing droughts and low water supplies by doubling their populations. Georgia and Florida already suffer water shortages, but expect to double their populations by mid century. We cannot grow more food when every added American destroys 25.4 acres of arable land, which grows our food, to support that person once they arrive in this country—called “ecological footprint.” (Source: www.allspecies.org)
Dr. Bartlett said, “No species can overrun the carrying capacity of a finite land mass. This Law cannot be repealed and is not negotiable.”
So what are we doing to ourselves as a species? At present, we race along making a pact with the “devil” in what we call a Faustian Bargain or, we keep adding people and burning up our resources for the luxury of the moment; as if tomorrow will never come. When tomorrow eventually arrives, we shall face a Hobson’s Choice. You won’t like his choice! We will have exacerbated our situation to the point that only two choices remain available: we get to choose Door A which, when we step through it, we plummet over a cliff. Door B allows us to fall into quicksand with no lifeguards. In other words, our civilization faces collapse and we’re all screwed with no choices.
As Dr. Bartlett said, “The law cannot be repealed and is not negotiable.” The Law of Gravity gives you an idea of what it’s like to fall over a cliff with no parachute. At some point, the United States faces the inevitable consequences of Dr. Bartlett’s rendition of “exponential growth.” Too damned bad we weren’t listening.
Frosty Wooldridge is a Population-Immigration-Environmental specialist: speaker at colleges, civic clubs, high schools and conferences. Facebook: Frosty Wooldridge. Facebook Adventure Page: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World. Www.HowToLiveALifeOfAdventure.com. www.frostywooldridge.com.