Interview with Paul Ehrlich: “Collapse of civilisation is a near certainty within decades”

| March 22, 2018 | Leave a Comment

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Item Link: Access the Resource

Media Type: Interview

Date of Publication: March 22, 2018

Year of Publication: 2018

Publication City: London, UK

Publisher: Guardian News and Media Limited

Author(s): Damian Carrington

Newspaper: The Guardian

Categories: , ,

Fifty years after the publication of his controversial book The Population Bomb, biologist Paul Ehrlich warns overpopulation and overconsumption are driving us over the edge.


Damian Carrington interviews Paul Ehrlich to reflect on the 50 years that have passed since the publication of The Population Bomband what, if anything has changed in regards to the chances of a shattering collapse of civilization.

“It [a shattering collapse of civilization] is a near certainty in the next few decades, and the risk is increasing continually as long as perpetual growth of the human enterprise remains the goal of economic and political systems.”

Paul R. Ehrlich

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The views and opinions expressed through the MAHB Website are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the MAHB. The MAHB aims to share a range of perspectives and welcomes the discussions that they prompt.
  • Greeley Miklashek

    I’m a retired physician, who spent 41 years trying to discern the true causes of my patients’ illnesses and finally concluded that population density stress was causing or contributing to ALL human disease. One clue was that our contemporary hunter-gatherers living in their traditional manner have NONE of our prolific “diseases of civilization”. Paleo-anthropologists have found little evidence of these diseases (heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, lung disease, etc.) in our pre-agricultural ancestors’ remains. Now, we are experiencing an new epidemic of falling sperm counts, as Prof. Ehrlich notes, but also a 100% increase in infertility: 8% in 1982, but 16.7 in 2016. Why? Half of American adults now fit the criteria for high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke rates are high and rising (in spite of heroic and expensive medical treatment), 1/4 American adult women are taking anti-depressants and today’s NYT article with over 1,000 comments bemoans the withdrawal from anti-depressants. Why? The physiological mechanisms of population density stress causing these increasing disease rates can be found in “Stress R Us” in the MAHB library. We are headed toward an imminent population collapse, just as Prof. Ehrlich predicts, and “Stress R Us” describes exactly how this is happening. Paul is correct in stating that the solution to our very survival as a species is population reduction, which will require one-child families. Check out the e-book to find out what happens to crowded lab animals, when their populations are allowed to increase without limits: extinction.

    • May be was because they only use to live a fraction that we are living now, what do you think?

      • Greeley Miklashek

        Actually, the pre-agricultural revolution hunter-gatherers had comparable life-spans. Afterall, you and I would have been dead long ago and many times over, if it were not for multiple interventions by our heroic medical technology. We take 4,300,000,000 Rx annually and see a physician at least once every year, etc. Eaton, Shostak, and Konner cover this well in their 1988 “The Paleolithic Prescription”, page 45ff. Thanks for the thoughtful question! Stress R Us

  • stevenearlsalmony

    Valuable perspective.

  • stevenearlsalmony

    Many too many scientists are either “slow walking” or in outright denial of virtually irrefutable science of human population dynamics. Top rank researchers with appropriate expertise prefer willful blindness to gaining and sharing already acquired knowledge that appears to answer one question: Why are absolute global human population numbers skyrocketing on our watch? Before a remedy to what ails the human community can be found, we need an accurate ‘diagnosis’ of what is ailing us. That is the first vital move in a two-step dance. The first step must be taken before ‘the dance’ can begin, before humanity’s ailment can be addressed and overcome. No adequate diagnosis, no meaningful remedy. Otherwise, bad matters are made worse.