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Humans are prone to overshoot – acting only when it is too late.

Take climate change or population growth or both or similar.

Imagine there is big old pond in your back garden. On the first day there is 1 lily pad, the next day 2, the day after 4 and so on. On the 30th day, the pond is full of lily pads and lily disaster strikes.

When do you look at the pond and think, “This is a problem—we need to act now”?

The answer is invariably, “When it’s too late.” This is because when you look at the pond on day 29, it is still only half full. That’s a lot of pond space, still! Surely plenty of time.

But with exponential growth doubling, one day is all it now takes to fill the pond.

Act, and act now. Better early than late; better day 20 than day 29.

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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...