- What is ESD?
- Review Process
- Take Action
- Professional Development
- A project of
David Suzuki argues that in any discusson of population, we must recognize the principle of exponential growth (when the growth rate of the value of a mathematical fuction is proportional to the function's current value). To illustrate the impact of exponential population growth, Suzuki uses the analogy of baterial growth in a test tube. The test tube represents the planet and its food supply; the bateria, human population; the growth rate such that the test tube will be full in 60 minutes. At 55 minutes, the test tube is only 3% full; at 59 minutes it is half full. According to Suzuki we are at the 59 minute mark.
The lessons to be learned from the analogy
The video serves as a useful introduction to the Malthusian theory that argues that because population increases exponentially and food/resources grow arithmetically, population size will ultimately exceed the ability to support itself. Suzuki's use of the growth of bateria in a test tube is a dramatic illustration of this theory.
Once students have been introduced to the Malthusian/Suzuki thesis, they may be required to investigate the arguments made by those that have challenged this thesis.
Any discussion of sustainable development, carrying capacity, resource exploitation should include consideration of current and future population growth.
The issue has relevance for a number of subject areas.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.