Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich still sees runaway population growth as a threat to the planet, but is hopeful that humans can avoid the first catastrophic collapse of a global civilisation.
BY SARAH JANE KELLER
The United Nations projects that world population will reach 7 billion this month and could top 10 billion by the end of the century.
In his 1968 book, The Population Bomb, Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich warned of the threat of unchecked human population growth. Over the past four decades, the book has brought attention to the question of how many individuals our planet can sustain.
As we approach Oct. 31, the United Nations’ symbolic day of 7 billion, Ehrlich discusses post-Population Bomb growth with the Stanford News Service.
Global population has more than doubled since you wrote The Population Bomb. What major consequences of that growth do we see today?
We are seeing climate disruption leading to rising food prices, loss of biodiversity, deteriorating ecosystem services, increased chances of vast epidemics and nuclear resource wars and a general reduction in the odds of avoiding the first catastrophic collapse of a global civilisation.
Have any of your prescriptions from The Population Bomb been followed to success in the last 40 years?
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