Item Link: Access the Resource
Publication Info: ISBN 9780300264548
Date of Publication: January 17
Year of Publication: 2023
Publication City: London, UK
Publisher: Yale University Press
Author(s): Paul Ehrlich
A renowned scientist and environmental advocate looks back on a life that has straddled the worlds of science and politics
Entirely entertaining —Kirkus Reviews
Acclaimed as a public scientist and as a spokesperson on pressing environmental and equity issues, delivering his message from the classroom to 60 Minutes, Paul R. Ehrlich reflects on his life, including his love affair with his wife, Anne, his scientific research, his public advocacy, and his concern for global issues. Interweaving the range of his experiences—as an airplane pilot, a desegregationist, and a proud parent—Ehrlich’s insights are priceless on pressing issues such as biodiversity loss, overpopulation, depletion of resources, and deterioration of the environment. A lifelong advocate for women’s reproductive rights, Ehrlich also helped to debunk scientific bias associating skin color and intelligence and warned some fifty years ago about a possible pandemic and the likely ecological consequences of a nuclear war.
This book is a vital contribution to literature focused on the human predicament, including problems of governance and democracy in the twenty-first century, and insight into the ecological and evolutionary science of our day. It is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding global change, our planet’s wonders, and a scientific approach to the present existential threats to civilization.
Biologist Ehrlich (The Dominant Animal), best known for warning that overpopulation poses an existential risk to humanity’s future, reflects on his life in this candid memoir. With wry humor (he jokingly cites his daughter’s choice to pursue a doctorate in economics as evidence of her psychological problems), Ehrlich traces his intellectual development and scientific career. Born in Philadelphia in 1932, he became fascinated with butterflies as a child at summer camp, leading him to train as an entomologist at the University of Kansas. There, he met his wife, Anne, whose contributions to his works are highlighted throughout, including her coauthorship of Ehrlich’s 1968 book, The Population Bomb, though the publisher refused to credit her. The heated reception to the book’s publication earned Ehrlich notoriety (critics accused him of “hating children” and “being antihuman”), but he laments that it overshadowed his theory of coevolution or the idea that organisms can evolve in response to each other. Ehrlich also discusses his left-leaning politics, including his efforts to warn the public about the ecological effects of nuclear war and his calling President Nixon a war criminal on national television. Ehrlich’s droll account of his achievements and controversies offers keen insight into the profundity of his thinking. Even Ehrlich’s critics will come away with a better understanding of his views.
Life: A Journey Through Science and Politics is available for pre-order here.
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