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Part 14:  Sustainable growth is unsustainable

By Frosty Wooldridge

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Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time Magazine, in October 2006 wrote an essay promoting America’s population growth, “We need to continue growing but in smarter more sustainable ways.”

A picture of Stengel wearing a suit and tie along with a smile accompanied his essay “Tracking America’s Journey.”  He looks intelligent, but his words betray his understanding of America’s population dilemma.   Stengel illustrates 20th century thinking in the harsh realities of the 21st century.  In other words, he’s clueless as to what he’s talking about.  However, he looks good, so millions of people think he knows what he’s promoting.  He does not!

Albert Einstein warned, “The problems in the world today are so enormous they cannot be solved with the level of thinking that created them.”

In his essay, Stengel illustrated our glorious past population growth and projected our adding 100 million people in three decades.  He said, “Unlike Japan and Europe, the U.S. is still growing at a healthy clip.”  He neglected to state that millions of those immigrants flee from overpopulated countries that can’t feed their populations.  That phenomenon fuels our population growth.

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Stengel neglected to understand that you can’t maintain a ‘healthy’ and ‘sustainable’ growing population ad infinitum.   The two stand diametrically opposed to one another.  Stengel subscribes to antiquated 20th century thinking.  He presents well, but he’s totally out of touch with the consequences of what he promotes.

His kind of thinking drives California’s current 37.5 million onward to 79 million in 40 years.  Stengel’s thinking adds 12 million people to Texas in 18 years.

Let’s get down to brass tacks on the absurdity of unending growth and sustainability!

Dr. Albert Bartlett, physics professor at the University of Colorado, and brilliant demographic expert wrote, “Arithmetic, Population and Energy.”  You may obtain a copy of the video by calling 303-492-2670 or emailing Mr. Herb Rodriguez at  That video would cause Time Editor Richard Stengel to write a different essay on America’s future.  Why?  He could no longer romanticize.  He couldn’t write glowingly about the future with an added 100 million people.  He couldn’t obfuscate the facts we face as civilization headed for an unsustainable future.  Dr. Bartlett writes:


First, we must accept the idea that "sustainable" has to mean “for an

unspecified long period of time.”

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Second, we must acknowledge the mathematical fact that steady growth gives very large numbers in modest periods of time.  For example, a population of 10,000 people growing at 7 percent per year will become a population of 10,000,000 people in just 100 years.

From these two statements we can see that the term "sustainable growth"

implies "increasing endlessly," which means that the growing quantity will

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Frosty Wooldridge Bio: Frosty Wooldridge possesses a unique view of the world, cultures and families in that he has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and six times across the United States in the past 30 years. His books (more...)

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