Paul Ehrlich: "Collapse Of Civilisation Is A Near Certainty Within Decades"

Authored by Damian Carrington via The Guardian,

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...

A shattering collapse of civilisation is a “near certainty” in the next few decades due to humanity’s continuing destruction of the natural world that sustains all life on Earth, according to biologist Prof Paul Ehrlich.

In May, it will be 50 years since the eminent biologist published his most famous and controversial book, The Population Bomb. But Ehrlich remains as outspoken as ever.

Prof Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

The world’s optimum population is less than two billion people – 5.6 billion fewer than on the planet today, he argues, and there is an increasing toxification of the entire planet by synthetic chemicals that may be more dangerous to people and wildlife than climate change.

Ehrlich also says an unprecedented redistribution of wealth is needed to end the over-consumption of resources, but “the rich who now run the global system – that hold the annual ‘world destroyer’ meetings in Davos – are unlikely to let it happen”.

The Population Bomb, written with his wife Anne Ehrlich in 1968, predicted “hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death” in the 1970s – a fate that was avoided by the green revolution in intensive agriculture.

Many details and timings of events were wrong, Paul Ehrlich acknowledges today, but he says the book was correct overall.

“Population growth, along with over-consumption per capita, is driving civilisation over the edge: billions of people are now hungry or micronutrient malnourished, and climate disruption is killing people.”

Ehrlich has been at Stanford University since 1959 and is also president of the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere, which works “to reduce the threat of a shattering collapse of civilisation”.

“It 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,” he says. “As I’ve said many times, ‘perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell’.”

It is the combination of high population and high consumption by the rich that is destroying the natural world, he says. Research published by Ehrlich and colleagues in 2017 concluded that this is driving a sixth mass extinction of biodiversity, upon which civilisation depends for clean air, water and food.

High consumption by the rich is destroying the natural world, says Ehrlich. Photograph: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

The solutions are tough, he says.

“To start, make modern contraception and back-up abortion available to all and give women full equal rights, pay and opportunities with men.

“I hope that would lead to a low enough total fertility rate that the needed shrinkage of population would follow. [But] it will take a very long time to humanely reduce total population to a size that is sustainable.”

He estimates an optimum global population size at roughly 1.5 to two billion,

But the longer humanity pursues business as usual, the smaller the sustainable society is likely to prove to be. We’re continuously harvesting the low-hanging fruit, for example by driving fisheries stocks to extinction.”

Ehrlich is also concerned about chemical pollution, which has already reached the most remote corners of the globe.

“The evidence we have is that toxics reduce the intelligence of children, and members of the first heavily influenced generation are now adults.”

He treats this risk with characteristic dark humour:

“The first empirical evidence we are dumbing down Homo sapiens were the Republican debates in the US 2016 presidential elections – and the resultant kakistocracy. On the other hand, toxification may solve the population problem, since sperm counts are plunging.”

Plastic pollution found in the most remote places on the planet show nowhere is safe from human impact. Photograph: Conor McDonnell

Reflecting five decades after the publication of The Population Bomb (which he wanted to be titled Population, Resources, and Environment), he says: “No scientist would hold exactly the same views after a half century of further experience, but Anne and I are still proud of our book.” It helped start a worldwide debate on the impact of rising population that continues today, he says.

The book’s strength, Ehrlich says, is that it was short, direct and basically correct. “Its weaknesses were not enough on overconsumption and equity issues. It needed more on women’s rights, and explicit countering of racism – which I’ve spent much of my career and activism trying to counter.

“Too many rich people in the world is a major threat to the human future, and cultural and genetic diversity are great human resources.”

Accusations that the book lent support to racist attitudes to population controlstill hurt today, Ehrlich says. “Having been a co-inventor of the sit-in to desegregate restaurants in Lawrence, Kansas in the 1950s and having published books and articles on the biological ridiculousness of racism, those accusations continue to annoy me.”

But, he says: “You can’t let the possibility that ignorant people will interpret your ideas as racist keep you from discussing critical issues honestly.”

More of Paul and Anne Ehrlich’s reflections on their book are published in The Population Bomb Revisited.


Pinto Currency Four Star Fri, 03/23/2018 - 21:47 Permalink

In 1987, the warning system on the world's debt market was shut off by the Bank of England's creation of the LBMA and its unallocated paper gold & silver contracts.

Since then, a $240T global debt bubble has been blown while the central banks printed freely and without limit.

The consumption and coming collapse is due to this reckless action by the central planners (the regulators themselves).


In reply to by Four Star

ZeroSpam Dindu Nuffins Fri, 03/23/2018 - 22:54 Permalink

▲▲▲   pier  ▲▲▲ CHRONIC SPAMMER  ▲▲▲ VIRUS ALERT ▲▲▲

When he gets back to his gloomy basement from his job cleaning bathrooms at Jack-in-the-Box and mopping floors at the porno theater, he jacks off and engages in conversations with himself here.

This Whackjob with Multiple Log-on's (aka "stizazz" and "lloll" "beepbop"  "Braveforce"  "PRIVETHEDGE"  "SLOPZ38"  "Schlomo Scheklestein"  "Jumanji1959"-- hopefully banned) is a CHRONIC SPAMMER whose "disguised links" ("America's WOES", above) will take you to his Spam- and Trojan-laden webpage, fondly known by ZHers as "The Whacked Out Biblicism SPAM page" where you will be the happy recipient of numerous virus from this very disturbed and obsessed individual, spamming here for more than five years. 


•enf83  ("In the news....SPAMMER broomsticked by furious readers" -- registered in Nigeria)
•NumbersUSA  (years of spamming)
•dailywesterner  (blessedly gone from ZH....for now)
•celebrity-leaks (Child Porn for the Glory of Jesus)
•biblicism (foaming-at-the-mouth "IsraHELL" and "Graphic Images" Christianity)
•Todaysfox   ("I made $7000 sucking dick on the internet last week ..... this is what I do")


Copy and send this text to

Please remove all postings and ban log-on from user "PIER" who chronically SPAM posts short-URL links to his virus- and trojan-filled website. This is the same individual posting chronically as  "STIZAZZ" "PRIVETHEDGE" and "Enf83" "SLOPZ38"  "BRAVEFORCE"  "BEEPBOP"  "SCHLOMO SCHEKLESTEIN"  "JUMANJI1959", among dozens of other banned log-ons [that's YOU "NumbersUSA" and "dailywesterner" and "biblicisminstitute" and "celebrity-leaks" (porn) and "I made $7000 last week...."]. Thank you.

In reply to by Dindu Nuffins

Captain Chlamydia NumbersUsa Sat, 03/24/2018 - 04:42 Permalink

Within 50 years we are  past the post-oil point in time. Prolly 20. One super bug and we die. Super volcano dito. Nuclear conflict. 

We kill rhino's whales tigers. We shit plastic. We eat Monsanto. We make petrodollars on the backs of the ordinary people, we let the government fuck us, tax us, JAIL us. 

Elite laughs his ass off. Rothschild and the other banksters investing in the military industrial financial intelligence complex. Central banks fucking it up. They are skimming off the wealth, in their villa's on their yachts.

CIA wars in the middle east. False flags, proxy wars. And that Bitch May with her Russian poison hoax this whole NATO stuff stincks high heaven. 

Merkel and her 12th Century friends that flood Europe, well fuck you multi-culturalism....

We are lied to about the wmd in Iraq, bout 911, jfk, fiat money. Think people. 


Qui bono


There is a storm coming. Social. Financial. Armed conflict. The BEST TIME WE HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED as HUMANS is the PAST 50 YEARS. 


Downhill from here. 


Did i mention Georgia guidestones?

In reply to by NumbersUsa

Adolph.H. Captain Chlamydia Sat, 03/24/2018 - 05:53 Permalink

I agree with that Jewish author: we are too many on this planet and this is boring because there's no more place to be quiet. We should get rid of the least useful races, negroes, Arabs, Hindus, Mexicans, some Chinese guys, and of course most of the Jews. 

One good mandatory vaccination campaign funded by Bill Gates and we should be back to 2 billion people in no time. After all it's for the good of everyone. 

So tell me again, where's the problem exactly? 


In reply to by Captain Chlamydia

Faeriedust Captain Chlamydia Sat, 03/24/2018 - 18:00 Permalink

Does depend on what you think is and was best.  Generally humans are happiest as hunter-gathers, even though they don't live as long or produce as many progeny.  In point of this, every tribe of "primitives" that has been forced to join "civilization" has resisted; many have revolted, and all have hated it to the point of suicide until all the old people who ever knew their original lifestyle have died out.

Downhill from here may also mean, moving with the "gravity" of life and human nature back to our beginnings and our natural form of existence, which would take us back to what we remember mythically as the Garden of Eden.

Sometimes you have to go back to go forwards

If you miss the right turnoff, you have to turn 'round

If the road that you're on's leading straight to deep water,

You'd better turn back if you don't want to drown!


In reply to by Captain Chlamydia

Z Beeblebrox Dindu Nuffins Sat, 03/24/2018 - 02:19 Permalink

Let me guess, humanity must come together under One World Government in order to address this "global problem".

File under [Globalist Scams] along with: Global Warming, Project Bluebeam

Overpopulation is a city problem. Anyone who's looked out a plane window knows there's plenty of room for everyone, yet we always get these congested city stock photos. If people are worried about our food supply, they should stop burning corn, and stop depleting the soil with over-tillage and chemical-based mono-cropping. At least one corn farmer has demonstrated a reversal of this soil depletion by switching to a no-till system.

Try telling the Japanese that we need to be worried about overpopulation. They're ahead of the curve on that one.

In reply to by Dindu Nuffins

The Ram D503 Sat, 03/24/2018 - 09:18 Permalink

It ain't the rich that are the problem.  This guy is a fucking idiot.  Women's rights and racism have nothing to do with overpopulation.  Massive subsidies to poor and generally unproductive people are your culprit. This is pretty evident in large cities the world over, for example, Chicago, Baltimore, Rio De Janeiro, Mexico City, Mumbai.  As long as the poor of the world are given unfettered 'reproductive rights', then the problems will persist.  Of course, the search for ever cheaper sources of labor has played a part in this.  There are some evil rich bastards, but most of the wealthy and upper middle class I have grown to know are productive and do not want a fucked up world.  Not to worry.  I am sure Mother Nature has some aces up her sleeves. Things get rebalanced over times, but people do not live long enough to ever see it in action!

In reply to by D503

SheHunter The Ram Sat, 03/24/2018 - 10:58 Permalink

Hey Ram.  Think again.  Women who grow up in poverty, who have no mentors or parents to help them realize their goals and work towards their goals - these girls/ women (men too but your post focused on women) are going to stay in the trough they see their mother enswamped in AKA low income or no job, certainly no career.  What follows is living the traditional female lifestyle of cloning onto whatever man is available and having babies.  Especially likely since our asinine government rewards women for spitting out babies.  So if you educate women, show them there are choices in life besides being baby factories you decrease the number of women who manufacture children.  voila.

In reply to by The Ram

Faeriedust The Ram Sat, 03/24/2018 - 18:09 Permalink

Uh, yeah, but you may not like those aces.  That's what the "We Gotta Save The World" crowd is worried about.  Mostly they're fairly comfortable upper-middle-class brilliant-but-idiots who've never had to work with their hands or their backs and don't think anyone should have to . . . yet they think that they can short-stop ecological disaster without giving up their SUVs and fine dining.  They want to save their world, the world of living comfortably with no consequences.  But the majority of people who aren't that comfortable aren't willing to give up the small comforts they do have, like eating and sex, and therefore the easy way will never happen.  Instead, it will be chaotic, sharp, and brutal, and randomly disproportionate.

RememberMr. President, we can't allow a mine-shaft gap!

In reply to by The Ram

fattail D503 Sat, 03/24/2018 - 09:26 Permalink

Great point.   Consumption is going to drop when the debt bomb blows.

Watch the documentary "minimalism".  Consuming less, using less, making your own food.  If you want to reduce consumption, promote the nuclear family and strengthen the dollar and reduce inflation to the point that one job could support a family.  

Of course the Fed's 2% inflation target would have to go.  

In reply to by D503

Pikachu Assassino east of eden Sat, 03/24/2018 - 14:13 Permalink

They invented the CFC whose patent belonged to GM and its value was $ 1.00 per kg, after 25 years nobody would need to pay Royalties or patents because it would become public, there they invented another HCFC refrigerant that would solve the problem of the ozone layer , the old CFC would then not serve because it miraculously assaults the layer, thus disposable. Except that the price of the substitute was around $ 14.00 per kg: Every refrigeration system (refrigerators for example) would be changed, or worse, entire industrial parks.
After 25 years, they discovered that HCFC was also bad for the ozone layer! At the same time that the patent became public, then worried about the problem in the ozone layer created another HFC substitute, which would require the exchange of refrigerators ... Same routine, the current price is around US $ 140.00 per So what kind of sustainability is this? That every 25 years is wasted thousands of domestic and industrial products not to lose patents, this is the consumerism created in the USA, proposed by the economist Victor Leblow "Our enormous productive economy demands that we make of the consumption our way of life, that we make the purchase and use of goods in rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, the satisfaction of our ego, in consumption. We need things to be consumed, destroyed, replaced and discarded at an ever-increasing rate".

Didn't you know? Or is it conspiracy? OMG!

In reply to by east of eden

Faeriedust pier Sat, 03/24/2018 - 17:52 Permalink

"Nature" finds "Man" revolting because Humanity, despite being of Nature born and dependent upon Her for life itself, has broken every law of Nature in "his" mad rush to become as the gods are.  In this Abrahamists have it partially right: there was a Garden of Eden, and it was the entire Earth, until humans began to force nature to obey them instead of keeping to their proper place in the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.  When men set metal plows into their Mother's body and tried to bind her as their slave, she turned her face from them and became cruel and despotic, treating them with the contempt their own behavior merited.  And as they became a rampant cancer overrunning her loveliness, she cursed them first with famine, then with war, and plague, and now finally with the failure of healthy sexual desire and fertility.  Expect no mercy until you as a species turn away from your overweening hubris of thinking yourselves equal to the Divine.  Until you recant and cease to claim that God exists in YOUR image, it will only get worse, if necessary until the last two "men" on Earth are both men and can't make a baby by screwing each other no matter how hard they try.


In reply to by pier

afronaut dilligaff Sat, 03/24/2018 - 11:55 Permalink

Yah this time it's really gonna happen just ignore the hundred of our predictions that never happened. These goofballs should be ashamed. We are finally rid of that gargoyle Hawking and now this pseudointellectual steps up to the plate to continue the retardation. 

The carrying capacity of a civilization is proportional to the ingenuity of that civilization.

White civilizations have always advanced in the face of adversity and we carry the inadequacy of our lessors on our backs. Let's stop this nonsense and start looking out for ourselves and let the rest of the 3rd world keep up or perish without our help. They hate us anyways. Good riddance 

In reply to by dilligaff

MaxThrust Four Star Sat, 03/24/2018 - 02:59 Permalink

"The amount of agricultural land in the world peaked in 2000"

True but if food production was to drop there would be a change in attitude were by a trend away from suburban sprawl to more high density living on land not suitable for farming. The suburban areas would be reclaimed for farming. Sure this will not happen in my life time and maybe not for 50 years but once the need is there humans will change and accept this reality or die out.


In reply to by Four Star

Endgame Napoleon Four Star Sat, 03/24/2018 - 19:11 Permalink

Japan already has robot-staffed farms in high rises. The jobs are not going to be there for all of the humans that big government pays citizens and noncitizens to produce, but in the future, it might be cheaper to reward so-called “working families” with free food for sex and reproduction.

Which the government does for single-earner moms and legal / illegal immigrants with male breadwinners, in addition to giving them other pay-per-birth freebies, making up the difference between the cost of living and the low pay in part-time, temporary and high-turnover jobs for the womb-productive.

I was going to add 1099 gigs, but the taxpayer-subsidized womb-productive workers usually leave the above-the-table 1099 gigs—which often have state-required and other expenses, and which have twice-as-high SS tax—to the non-womb-productive, ganging up in absenteeism-friendly crony-mom-protection rackets to take the hourly jobs, where “the women we have working here (in this corporate back-office job) have somethin’ comin’ in.”

They have something coming in from government or spouses that makes the low pay acceptable.  

As far as pay gap is concerned, the problem is assortative mating, the concentration of two high-paying jobs with benefits under one roof, which halved the size of the college-educated middle class, not that men and women in the bottom half of the workforce are paid significantly different amounts for the same job.

The fact that half of men ages 18 to 34 live with their parents due to rent that consumes more than half of their earned-only income should tell you that much, although I know from working in a number of low-wage jobs where men got mad because I was paid a little bit more, not even close to enough to rent an apartment on earned-only income, but a $1-per-hour difference makes some holler (in a bad way) when they are paid beans.

The same thing happened when I was paid $1-per-hour more due to 1) a bachelor’s degree, 2) 4 legally required licenses and 3 20 years of sales experience, with the complainer being a non-degree-holding, non-licensed, non-experienced and frequently absentee momma on welfare who, like so many, is arrogant beyond belief due to the fake-feminist era.

Womb-productive women in low-wage jobs can have just have sex, reproduce out of wedlock and work part time to stay below the earned-income limits for multiple monthly welfare programs. Uncle Sam then sets them up in an “independent” household, not just in the ghetto. The Section 8 apartments are free or nearly free.

But there are other alternatives, including mixed-income complexes, which the government pays developers a per-unit tax credit to build. The womb-productive moms get a nicer, safer apartment than most college grads can afford, with a rent reduction that increases per birth, as with their 100% free and non-contributory monthly welfare. It all reduces their main expenses more with each birth.

The average EBT allotment for a mom is $450 per month, more than a week’s pay for a college-educated Department of Human Services worker, struggling to rent an apartment that absorbs more than half of her earned-only income, as I also was.

Along with moms working part time to add keeping-up-with-the-Jones’ income to a spousal income, moms on welfare dominate the many low-wage office jobs “voted best for moms.”

There are some pre-childbearing youth-dominated jobs. But many crony-parent employers prefer moms with 1) spousal income, 2) child support that covers rent or 3) welfare and child-tax-credit welfare over childless, single workers who meet the quotas every month, generating more new-business sales and retaining more accounts due to all day / every day attendance.

When they work part time, single moms qualify for free food, free housing, free electricity, monthly cash assistance, subsidized daycare (so that they can work part time) and a refundable EITC child tax credit that, at the $6,431 max, equals 3 months of full-time wages for many female and male non-womb-productive, non-welfare-eligible workers.

No employer is going to pay these moms that much more than they are making for the vast majority of office jobs. They pay higher wages to a handful of often equally absentee crony-parent managers who “need the jobs” due to having kids and ample spousal income, but they will never pay substantially more for most of the jobs.

But the pay would be a little higher for the vast majority of jobs—maybe enough for people with no unearned income to rent an apartment—if every bored-with-her-kids mom was not chasing a job that she has so little interest in that she leaves work every day at 2:30, and for weeks of baby travel soccer, leaving behind phones ringing off the hook with paying customers. 

It is a ludicrous scene in TONS of workplaces, with mom-bonding rituals absorbing a ton of time when these moms are actually at work.

  • Baby-Mommy-Look-Alike-Bulletin-Board-Decorating Contest;
  • Halloween Dress-up Day With Cubicle-Decorating Contest;
  • Tacky Christmas Sweater Contest;
  • Adult Cubicle Easter Egg Hunt;
  • Bring Daughter To Work Day;
  • Bring Son To Work Day;
  • Spin-The-Wheel Contest With Piñata, etc., etc., etc.

Moms in charge have their financial services employees arrange chairs in a kindergarten circle, going around the circle one by one, with each mom telling funny stories about her kids. 

For all of the saccharine maternal fakeness, these mom-dominated workplaces are cutthroat to the max. You are told upfront that “we have 17 women in here (MOMs), and we HAVE to have someone who fits in.” The same thing applies in many larger work settings.  

The workforce now revolves around childbearing-aged women who are openly discriminatory and dramtically absentee, enjoying mornings, afternoons, days and weeks off beyond their PTO and pregnancy leaves due to the back-watching mom gangs.

Childbearing-aged women—the group with the most access to unearned income from government, spouses or child support checks that cover their rent—are now the biggest group in the workforce.

Governent and the children’s grandparents accommodate their work schedules, along with an enormous volume of leisure activities, making sure that childcare is provided, like for instance babysitting during the trip to Florida with her boyfriend that a single mom with rent covered by governent uses her $6,341 refundable EITC child tax credit to fund, two months after her previous 2-week babyvacation.

Ditto for the high-paid assortative mates with their non-refundable child tax credits, spousal income and equally at-their-beck-and-call grandparent babysitting services, covering their copious excused time off. 

Meanwhile, 50 million working-aged citizens are out of the workforce. Half of all “employed” people are working for on-average earned income of $13k. Many of them do not enjoy wages boosted by unearned income for womb productivity, nor do many of them have spousal income. 

The excused absenteeism for crony parents at the top and the bottom of the job food chain is made possible by their open cronyism, which is never criticized since they can claim that every self-indulgent thing is done for kids, but it is also made possible by computers that do more and more of their work, as they produce more humans to compete with robots for jobs, getting rewarded for it by Congress in every spending bill. 

The never-significantly-increasing pay scale for the bottom half of workers is perpetual partly due to flooding the workforce with womb-productive women with access to unearned income that drives down wages for breadwinners since they can afford to work for less, especially when you simultaneously flood the workforce with womb-productive immigrants, getting the max in womb-productivity freebies for their prolific sex and reproduction.

Both groups can afford to work for low pay due to their pay-per-birth freebies. Congress is handing out more welfare for womb productivity than ever before in history, getting awful results for it, like 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its prisoners and a 300% upsurge in mass shootings, many of which are committed by kids.

These much ballyhooed working mommas want to celebrate their motherhood all day long at work, but will snap your head off if you say one word about their fake feminism. Yet, hardly any of them want to do the [work] of raising their own kids. They let $9-per-hour daycare workers, $9-per-hour babysitters with NannyCams and elderly grandparents raise them. 





In reply to by Four Star

BanksterMind Baron von Bud Fri, 03/23/2018 - 22:00 Permalink

On a long enough timelime the survival rate for anyone drops to zero.

Where did I read that again?

All the stuff they won't teach at school:   Entrepreneurship for kids.  (age 8 to 88)







In reply to by Baron von Bud

SheHunter arby63 Sat, 03/24/2018 - 11:03 Permalink

Hey Arby.  I agree with you ZH has become a bickering, stabbing trash board similar to Yahoo question is do you know where the Zh originals post these days?  I am always on the hunt but have yet to find them.  I firefoxed sites similar to ZH and still cannot find their posts.  for all of you still on ZH who post your thoughts and ideas instead of your phlegm...thanks!

In reply to by arby63

SweetDoug SheHunter Sat, 03/24/2018 - 12:17 Permalink




I'm still here!


Busy being banned on Disqus by MediaDon'tMatters, Alternet...



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In reply to by SheHunter