Paul R. Ehrlich
American scientist and environmentalist
- The debate regarding which individual factor, among the three key factors producing the environmental crisis, causes more damage - the size of the human population on the planet, excessive consumption of resources or unequal/ unjust distribution of resources among countries [the wealthier countries consume much more resources than poorer countries] - is like a debate about which contributes more to a triangle, the base or the ribs of the triangle. You can not separate the three factors. If we analyze the numbers over a relatively longer time interval, we will conclude that the size of the population has a bigger impact than consumption. On the other hand, consumption and unequal distribution are also important aspects. If we do not change these three factors all at the same time, the quality of our life will change dramatically. Today humanity is delivering a serious blow to nature, but it is clear that nature will deliver the final blow.
- Paul Ehrlich, People should produce far fewer children, or expect the worst (Dec. 2012), Haaretz
- If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000 (Quote from 1969).
- Actually, the problem in the world is that there are too many rich people.
- Americans plunder planet?, Associated Press, April 6, 1990.
- A series of things have come up since then that have made the problem incredibly grimmer…. The ozone hole… acid rain…. Three hundred million people have starved to death since THE POPULATION BOMB was written. The famines weren’t as large as agriculturists thought they would be… due to the spread of… Green Revolution technology into the poor countries…. What makes us nervous right now is that we’re faced with again having to do something desperate to increase our food production greatly.... In 1965 we knew exactly how to do it, the question was could we deploy it fast enough—Today we have nothing left to deploy—that’s very scary.... As a species we’re not able to live on our income; we’re living on our capital, our deep rich agricultural soils are being destroyed, water is being overpumped, and our biodiversity, our life support system—we’re already far beyond what we can support.
- KQED Radio City Arts and Lectures, San Francisco 1996
- Perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell.
- In fact, giving society cheap, abundant energy at this point would be the moral equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun. With cheap, abundant energy, the attempt clearly would be made to pave, develop, industrialize, and exploit every last bit of the planet—a trend that would inevitably lead to a collapse of the life-support systems upon which civilization depends.
- "An ecologist's perspective on nuclear power", Federation of American Scientists Public Interest Report vol. 28, no. 5-6 (May-June, 1975), page 5.
Paul Ehrlich and the population bombEdit
PAUL EHRLICH AND THE POPULATION BOMB, PBS video produced by Canadian biologist Dr. David Suzuki
- The idea that we can just keep growing forever on a finite planet is totally imbecilic.... Julian Simon, a professor of junkmail marketing, and his kind, think technology will solve everything.... We can use up the Earth then we can just jump into spaceships and fly somewhere else.... Technology does nothing to solve problems of biodiversity or living space or arable cropland.... Fresh water and arable cropland are finite resources.... We are already far beyond what we can support sustainably.... The provincial view you get from someone living in some wealthy American East Coast city is wildly different from reality. Most of the world is tropical, hungry and poor. Visit the developing world and southern hemisphere and you get a very different view of reality.
- Solving the population problem is not going to solve the problems of racism… of sexism… of religious intolerance… of war… of gross economic inequality—But if you don’t solve the population problem, you’re not going to solve any of those problems. Whatever problem you’re interested in, you’re not going to solve it unless you also solve the population problem. Whatever your cause, it’s a lost cause without population control.
The Population Explosion (1990)Edit
- Overdrafts on aquifers are one reason some of our geologist colleagues are convinced that water shortages will bring the human population explosion to a halt. There are substitutes for oil; there is no substitute for fresh water.
- The key to understanding overpopulation is not population density but the numbers of people in an area relative to its resources and the capacity of the environment to sustain human activities; that is, to the area’s carrying capacity. When is an area overpopulated? When its population can’t be maintained without rapidly depleting nonrenewable resources.... By this standard, the entire planet and virtually every nation is already vastly overpopulated.