Wednesday, August 14, 2013

CU-Boulder Plots To Extend Life of Al Bartlett's Famous Lecture on Arithmetic, Population, and Energy

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent post “CU-Boulder Plots To Extend Life of Al Bartlett's Famous Lecture on Arithmetic, Population, and Energy” [Hake (2013)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: A report “CU-Boulder plots to extend life of Al Bartlett's famous lecture” [Anas (2013)] at describes a program of CU’s Environmental Center to train people to give Bartlett’s talk “Arithmetic, Population, and Energy”

As I stated in my post “A Global Tribute to Al Bartlett” [Hake 2013)] at “I realize that some overpopulation deniers mistakenly claim that exponential growth is not relevant because the human population of developed countries is no longer increasing exponentially and is even starting to level out. But exponential growth is still present in many parts of the world and is responsible for the initiation of the World’s present human overpopulation . . . . . .”

A typical overpopulation denier is one “dancing badger” who commented as follows on Anas’ report: “[Bartlett’s] arguments regarding overpopulation have proven to be flawed. Once a country reaches maturity in terms of its economy and technological advancement its fertility rate plummets. We have seen this in Europe, Asia and the United States where populations are actually shrinking. The United Nations’ own projections show total global population reaching a maximum of around 11 billion and then declining after that. As a threat the population bomb has proven to be a complete bust.”

A cogent response to “dancing badger” is provided by Bartlett himself in one of his latest essays “Close the Fire Department,” now online at, thanks to Marilyn Hempel, (2013), editor of the Population Press. In that essay Al describes his experience at a recent AAAS symposium on sustainability where a panelist, in answer to Al’s question as to why the obvious benefits of reducing our present overpopulation were never mentioned, explained that “United Nations figures show that the growth rate of world population is declining and world population growth is expected to stop on its own later in the century. So the population is under control and there is no need to worry ourselves about it at this time.” Al responded by inviting the panelist to come with him to City Hall and seek to convince city government that it doesn't need a Fire Department since it's an established fact that all fires will eventually go out!

To access the complete 11 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
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"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."
- Al Bartlett

REFERENCES [URL's shortened by and accessed on 13 Aug 2013.]
Hake, R.R. 2013. “CU-Boulder Plots To Extend Life of Al Bartlett's Famous Lecture on Arithmetic, Population, and Energy,” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 13 Aug 2013 20:03:46-0400 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being distributed to various discussion lists.

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