Posted by Tom Megginson | 13-09-2010 15:44 | Category: Environment

The National Film Board of Canada has released an interactive video featuring famed environmentalist David Suzuki talking about exponential growth and environmental capacity.

It sounds kind of complicated, but the award-winning Canadian geneticist, environmentalist and broadcaster — best known for his long-running biology show The Nature of Things — uses a simple analogy to get the point across.

The interactive experience begins with a question: “I know you’re busy…”


As you might expect, what you decide to do with that minute will probably change after you watch the video.

Suzuki begins by explaining exponential growth — in which something doubles itself at regular intervals. He then asks us to imagine that we are bacteria that grow exponentially. We live in a test tube full of food, and in one hour that tube will be full of bacteria. We will have no food left, and we will all die. Then he asks: At what point in that hour is the test tube only half full?


No more spoilers. You’ll have to watch the video.

The Test Tube
National Film Board of Canada
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