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Force of Nature clip - David Suzuki speaks about exponential growth

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Uploaded on Sep 20, 2011

Documentary film about David Suzuki by the National Film Board of Canada. In this clip he compares the crisis of our unlimited growth in the biosphere to the doubling of bacteria in a test tube full of food. Every minute the bacteria doubles, and at 60-minutes the test tube is completely full of bacteria.

David Suzuki: "When is the test tube half full? And of course, the answer is at 59 minutes. 59 minutes, it's only half-full, but one minute later, it's completely full. So at 58 minutes, it's 25% full. 57 minutes, it's 12.5% full. At 55 minutes of a 60-minute cycle, it's 3% full.

"So let's suppose at 55 minutes, one of the bacteria says, 'Hey guys, I've been thinking...we've got a population problem.' The other bacteria would say, 'Jack, what the hell have you been smoking? 97% of the test tube's empty and we've been around for 55 minutes!' They'd be five minutes away from filling it.

"So bacteria are no smarter than people. At 59 minutes they go, 'Oh my God, Jack is right! We've got 1 minute left! What are we going to do now? Well, we better give that money to those scientists! Maybe they can pull us out of this.' But the world for the bacteria is the test tube and food. How can they possibly add any more food or space to that world? They can't. They can no more add food or space than we can add air, water, soil or biodiversity to the biosphere.

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