Anticipatory vs. Catastrophic Change?

Gravity Lessons

The Weight Of Ignorance


Albert Bartlett (Professor of Physics – University of Colorado, Boulder) has given the following one-hour lecture, Arithmetic, Population and Energy: Sustainability 101 over 1,600 times world-wide. His audiences have ranged from junior high school and college students to corporate executives, scientists and congressional staffs.

He first gave the talk in September, 1969, and subsequently has presented it an average of once every 8.5 days for 36 years. The presentation is based on his paper, Forgotten Fundamentals of the Energy Crisis, originally published in the American Journal of Physics.


* * *

Got your parachute ready?


16 comments on “Anticipatory vs. Catastrophic Change?

    • Indeed you are! But in your case, maybe forget the ‘parachute’ and perhaps focus instead on developing a backup rain catchment (and/or wind-pumped) water supply if you haven’t already. As you might guess, deep-well dependency can quickly become an ‘over the cliff’ experience if (or whenever) the power goes out. But you’ve probably given that some thought already, right? ;-)


    • Why doesn’t it go viral? For the same reason most people prefer a life in La La Land over one spent ‘dirtying’ their fingers with ‘untidy’ realities. If you look at the videos that HAVE gone viral, I think you’ll see my point. ;-)


      • You have an excellent point, William. I do look at them. I hope it’s a phase. I hope the audience is like I was in my youth – curious, wanting to belong, but not “sold”.

        I believe our youth are more informed and don’t need us to say “enough”. When I have the opportunity to be amongst young people, I come away reassured – knowing they are far more evolved than my friends and me at their age.

        At times I have wondered if goodness is predominant or if it has fallen to the background. Then I spend time with the folks getting dirty. I see people who put their self centeredness aside. They cross differences with the ease of grace personified. They aren’t giving because someone is watching!

        Plus… some viral videos are damned good.

        I can’t change the world, but I can change me. I expose myself to both worlds.

        My challenge is to deliver a dose of compassion silently on any day. It’s a challenge to do it and NOT receive a better high than any substance-induced state that may be prime for the almighty viral video.

        I want to do it because it’s my default.


  1. Thought provoking, as always! Troubling, frightening, disturbing…watched the whole thing and was impressed with the logic. Solutions seem elusive, and maybe we are already only a minute away from our bottle being full…


    • Ketchikan. When you get back from your trip, the first thing you should do is bend down and kiss the ground…because that’s probably one of the safest, most ‘sustainable’ places on earth. Water? No problem. Food? No problem (unless all the salmon, halibut and rock cod, etc., have been fished to extinction). Fuel? No problem (so long as there are at least a few trees left that haven’t been ‘pulped’ or sent to Japan). Global warming? No problem (the expected raise in sea level will still leave plenty of land above high tide ;-). Population? No problem (given the distance from population centers, and the vast expanse of uninhabited territory in SE Alaska and northern B.C.). After kissing the ground, you might then want to give some serious thought to forming (or joining) a group that promotes local sustainability.

      More specifically: Perhaps the most under-considered ‘local sustainability’ issue is health care. There’s tons of info online regarding local food production, energy resources, etc., but very little about how to locally produce (and/or preserve) essential medicines and other ‘gear’ that’s necessary in order to sustain adequate health care…without being impossibly dependent on a steady stream of supplies from outside resources. So…when thinking about that new, very engaging/rewarding career you look forward to developing..maybe that’s one you might want to very seriously consider. Think about it! What would you do when (not if) TSHTF and outside resources became difficult (if not impossible) to get? What’s most important (medically) to have on hand? How and what can be produced locally? Who knows about such things? Where can that information be found? Maybe a website designed just for that purpose? Maybe one with ‘viral’ possibilities? Just a thought… ;-)


  2. I was recently presented with a Leibster Award by Colddeadheart and I have nominated you to receive one due to the outstanding contribution that you make to the artistic community. Please see my latest post for details. – Brian


    • Brian, what a pleasant surprise! Thank you! I’ll do the requisite Leibster Award thank you post a little later today…after I’ve managed to figure out which five of my (20+) favorite blogs seem most deserving. (He says, as he looks in his desk for a coin to flip. ;-)


  3. One word, Passion.
    In the west it’s not ok to have passion, to demonstrate passion, to be passionate about something. If you do you’ll be told to sush, to stop being rascist, ageist, sexist, a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), mental, stupid, a whatever – anything to shut you up. Honest to goodness debating died with the gladiators.
    It’s not ok to hate, anyone or anything! It’s not ok to love children, men, boys, girls, priests or prostitutes, the disabled or people who shout “C**T!” randomly because they have a mental disorder. It’s not ok, in this country, to provide safe, secure, nurturing environments to people with mental conditions because the maddest, most evil minded woman still alive closed all the hospitals when she was Prime Minister.
    It’s not ok to be a generalist even when our leaders say something or do something that affects everyone. It’s not ok to say democracy is dead and it’s even more not ok to say that it was always going to die anyway because democracy ultimately cannot work.
    But most of all, in the eyes of our leaders and despite all their rhetoric, it’s not ok to fend for yourself.
    And so, Mr Lawson, I will do the one thing for which I will not, as yet, be shot down and punished for and that is to say I passionately agree with just about everything you say and promote in your blog.


    • Attempting to carry the full weight of a failing culture–while at the same time easing it back to a more ‘grounded’ reality–probably isn’t going to be possible. Especially since so few are willing (yet) to acknowledge the existence–much less the magnitude–of the ‘over the cliff’ descent that has already begun. A feeling of entitlement, no matter what ‘deck’ you’re on, is no replacement for a lifeboat when the ship begins to sink.

      Passion. Yes, it is much needed. Especially if it is reality-driven…


  4. This is exactly what I needed today! Thank you! Sustainability for our home is precisely what I’m shooting for and you’ve given me very good arguments to drive my point home. Plus, I learned some math today. That’s always a good thing. ;)


    • “Sustainability for our home is precisely what I’m shooting for…” Same here, and (thankfully) almost there. In fact we should be entirely (voluntarily) off-grid and totally food independent by summer’s end. Not to mention entirely enjoying both the process and the resultant sense of security. So…stick to your guns, and get it done. (You can argue the ‘merits’ later. ;-)


  5. Pingback: Ok, Cupid! | CiderPress

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