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Bartlett Still 4

Sustainability 101: The Forgotten Fundamentals of the Energy Crisis
©2006 Army Armstrong Films, LLC
(69 minutes)

"I want to just talk to you about some of these problems that we're facing. Some of them are local, some are national, some are global. They're all tied together with arithmetic, and the arithmetic isn't very difficult. And I hope I can convince you that the greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."

With these opening words, Dr. Al Bartlett, professor emeritus of physics at the University of Colorado--Boulder, begins his guided tour of the astounding consequences of steady growth on this planet. Using only arithemetic as he promised, Al Bartlett peppers his talk with headlines, advertisements, magazine articles, and cartoons that facilitate our understanding of the impending crises we face from steady increases in population, coupled with steady increases in the consumption of our planet's carbon-based energy resources.

At mid-talk, Dr. Bartlett asks, "Did you realize that anything as completely acceptable as 7% growth per year could give such an incredible consequence, and in just ten years you'd consume more than all that had been used in all of the preceding growth?" Most of us will have to answer that we did not, but the preponderance of his examples will leave that lesson burned into our awareness.

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