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Author(s): Robyn Williams
On 30th August 1971, US ecologist Paul Ehrlich appeared on ABC television’s Monday Conference. Ehrlich said the world’s population was 3.7 billion and we were adding 70 million people a year. This was degrading the life support systems of the planet. Fifty years later, the world’s population has more than doubled to 7.8 billion. Back then there were 200 million cars on the roads. Today there are 1,500 million cars. Pork consumption per head has doubled. Power use has doubled. The impact? Global average temperate has increased 1.1 degrees, ice at the poles is melting fast, coral reefs are dying as we watch and we are in the middle of the sixth mass extinction of species in the history of the planet. Most of the change has occurred in just 200 years. Glorious! As we approach the COP26 climate talks Paul Ehrlich joins Robyn Williams to reflect on where we find ourselves, how humanity has produced such a mess, and possibilities for our future.
‘Everybody’s scared’: The first mention in Australian media of global warming could only gesture to the future – Bob Carr SMH 30th Aug 2021
Professor Emeritus of Population Studies
Department of Biology
Stanford CA USA