Professor Bartlett’s renowned lecture, “Arithmetic, Population and Energy: Sustainability 101,” has been delivered over 1,600 times to audiences worldwide, ranging from students to corporate executives and scientists. Since its inception in September 1969, Professor Bartlett has presented this lecture approximately once every 8.5 days for 36 years.

The lecture, based on his paper “Forgotten Fundamentals of the Energy Crisis,” delves into crucial concepts surrounding sustainability. Professor Bartlett opens with a powerful statement: “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” From there, he provides an accessible explanation of steady growth arithmetic, emphasizing the concept of doubling time and its implications.

With insightful examples, Professor Bartlett illustrates the consequences of unending growth on populations at local and global scales. He highlights the challenges posed by finite resources, particularly fossil fuels, whose lifetimes are shorter than commonly believed.

Throughout the lecture, Professor Bartlett critically examines prevailing beliefs in economic and population growth, questioning the validity of optimistic assertions made by experts, media, and political leaders. He challenges the societal emphasis on perpetual growth, urging audiences to confront the realities of finite resources and the need for sustainable practices.

“Arithmetic, Population and Energy: Sustainability 101” offers a thought-provoking exploration of key issues facing humanity, encouraging audiences to rethink conventional wisdom and embrace solutions for a more sustainable future.

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