When driving southbound on 30th street, one is hard-pressed to miss the enormous apartment building being constructed east of Target. In looking at this building, I couldn’t help but wonder why it is being built, what it means for Boulder, and if anyone knows its long-term implications.
To understand this issue, I interviewed long-time physics professor at the University of Colorado, Al Bartlett. He made all too clear the mathematical fact that growth cannot be sustained, and that it equates to a Ponzi scheme on local, state, and national levels. Since the first Boulder census in 1870, the population has doubled five times. At a rate of growth of a mere 1% per year, we can expect another doubling to 200,000 people in 70 years (roughly one human lifetime).
Thomas Malthus may have underestimated the increases in agricultural yields in the late 1700’s, but by no means was he wrong in principle. Though we have an incredible ability to innovate and discover vis-à-vis oil and agriculture, there exist limits. We as a species have to stop population growth and ever increasing rates of consumption–or nature will stop it for us.
Reed H. Chervin