I was having a discussion with my brother and he brought up a good point that I felt I should share. Although everyone knows what an exponential function is, we have a tendency to think linearly and fail to realize the effects of exponential functions. For example:
Pretend that there is a jar with a single bacterium in it. Let us further assume that the population of bacteria doubles every minute. Finally, let’s assume that in 60 minutes, the entire jar is full of bacteria. How full is the jar on the 59th minute? The jar, of course, would be half full. Within one minute, the jar went from being half full to completely full.
Now some may ask, “that’s cool and all but so what?”. We are living in a time where the population of the Earth is ever increasing and the amount of resources that we utilize with it. We may look at the all the natural resources and think “hey, we have nothing to worry about, we have plenty left”, but do we really? We could be in the 59th minute, looking at a half full jar saying we have plenty left. The next minute, we will have utilized as much resources as the 59 preceding it. Furthermore, let’s assume that we find an identical planet to Earth with all it’s resources. By the 61st minute we would have consumed all the resources on the newly found planet.
I am not trying to state that we are doubling or consumption of the resources, but am just trying to emphasize that we must be more careful in realizing the effects of exponential functions. We are definitely increasing our consumption of resources on the planet at an ever increasing rate and need to remind ourselves that although things may look like enough today, it may all be gone tomorrow.