Leading Population Researcher: There is a 90% Chance Of “Collapse Of Global Civilization”
October 25th, 2011
Paul Ralph Ehrlich, biologist and professor of population studies at Stanford University, has been warning for decades (The Population Bomb, 1968) that the earth is becoming increasingly unstable and incapable of supporting our ever expanding population growth. With 7 billion people on the planet and growth estimated to continue at a pace that would reach 15 billion by the end of the 21st century, Ehrlich notes that our concerns about feeding the world’s population and meeting energy resource needs for future generations are misguided. We shouldn’t be concerned with 9 billion people a decade or two from now, or 15 billion at the end of the century. We have an immediate problem right now and there’s a 90% chance that those living today will experience what we’ve often referred to as TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World As We Know It):
The population of Earth has doubled since Paul Ehrlich first warned the world that there were too many humans. Three and a half billion people later, he is more pessimistic than ever, estimating there is only a 10% chance of avoiding a collapse of global civilisation.
“Among the knowledgeable people there is no more conversation about whether the danger is real,” Ehrlich told the Guardian. “Civilisations have collapsed before: the question is whether we can avoid for the first time [an] entire global civilisation… of having the whole mess collapse.”
The idea sounds melodramatic, but Ehrlich insists his vision only builds on famine, drought, poverty and conflict, which are already prevalent around the world, and would unfold over the “next few decades”.
“What it would look like is getting to the situation where more and more people are living in uncertainty about their future, subject to all kinds of disease,” he said.
“My pessimism is deeply tied to the human failure to do anything about these problems, or even recognise or talk about them.”