|"There's No Tomorrow", Seq.3 - GROWTH
Script, References & Further Reading.
These bacteria live in a bottle. Their population doubles every minute. At 11AM there is one bacterium. At 12 noon the bottle is full. It is half-full at 11.59 - leaving only enough space for one more doubling. The bacteria see the danger. They search for new bottles, and find 3. They assume that their problem is solved. By 12 noon, the first bottle is full. By 12.01, the second bottle is full. By 12.02, all the bottles are full. This is the problem that we face, due to the doubling caused by Exponential Growth. 
When humanity began to use coal and oil as fuel sources, it experienced unprecedented growth. 
Even low growth rates produce large increases over time. At a 1% growth rate, an economy will double in 70 years. A 2% rate doubles in 35 years. At a 10% growth rate, an economy will double in only 7 years. If an economy grows at the current average of 3%, it doubles every 23 years.  With each doubling, demand for energy and resources will exceed all the previous doublings combined.
The financial system is built on the assumption of growth - which requires an increasing supply of energy to support it.  Banks lend money they don't have, in effect creating it.  The borrowers use the newly created loan money to grow their businesses, and pay back the debt, with an interest payment which requires more growth. Due to this creation of debt formed money, most of the world's money represents a debt with interest to be paid.  Without continual new and ever larger generations of borrowers to produce growth, and thus pay off these debts, the world economy will collapse. Like a Ponzi Scheme, the system must expand or die. 
Partly through this debt system, the effects of economic growth have been spectacular: in GDP, damming of rivers, water use, fertiliser consumption, urban population, paper consumption, motor vehicles, communications and tourism. World population has grown to 7 billion, and is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050. On a flat, infinite earth, this would not be a problem. However, as the Earth is round and finite, we will eventually face limits to growth. 
Economic expansion has resulted in increases in atmospheric nitrous oxide and methane, ozone depletion, increases in great floods, damage to ocean ecosystems, including nitrogen runoff, loss of rainforest and woodland, increases in domesticated land, and species exinctions. 
If we place a single grain of rice on the first square of a chessboard, double this and place 2 grains on the second, double again and place 4 on the third, double again and place 8 on the fourth, and continue this way, putting on each square twice the number of grains than were on the previous one, by the time we reach the final square, we need an astronomical number of grains: 9 quintillion, 223 quadrillion, 372 trillion, 36 billion, 854 million, 776 thousand grains: more grain than the human race has grown in the last 10,000 years. Modern economies, like the grains on the chess board, doubles every few decades. On which square of the chessboard are we?
Besides energy, civilisation demands numerous essential resources: fresh water, topsoil, food, forests, and many kinds of minerals and metals.  Growth is limited by the essential resource in scarcest supply.  A barrel is made of staves, and like water filling a barrel, growth can go no further than the lowest stave, or the most limited essential resource.
Humans currently utilise 40% of all photosynthesis activity on Earth.  Though it might be possible to use 80%, we are unlikely to ever use 160%.
REFERENCES & EXTRA READING
 Exponential Growth in a Finite Environment
al bartlett: forgotten_fundamentals
 Population Graphs:
wiki article on world_population
energy grades and historic economic growth
 Graphs of GDP:
graph of GDP increases from 1990-present
graph of world economic growth, 1950-present
 Fossil Fuels and Economic Growth:
 The Debt-Based Financial System:
animation (30 mins): "money as debt"
chris martenson - money creation. text and video (4.20)
 Chris Martenson - Debt. text and video (12.33).
 Ponzi Scheme Definition:
is the financial system a ponzi scheme?
 Eating Fossil Fuels:
dale alan pfeiffer: on eating_fossil fuels
 Neoclassical Economics is Flawed.
scientificamerican.com: the economist has no clothes
albert bartlett "arithmetic, population and energy" transcript
 Resource Depletions:
earth's natural wealth audit
 Liebig's Law of the Minimum:
wiki article about liebig's_law_of_the_minimum
 Articles by Professor Albert Bartlett on Growth:
the population delusion
Human appropriation of the biosphere:
Human appropriation of the products of photosynthesis
Global human appropriation of net primary production
Human Appropriation of Photosynthesis Products