Locus Focus on 01/10/11
HUMANITY ON A TIGHTROPE
Paul Ehrlich is arguably the most infamous environmentalist of the modern era. His 1968 book The Population Bomb, raised awareness on the connections between exponential human population growth and environmental degradation. It is still iconic to some while a discomfort to others. But what Paul Ehrlic's has to say in his latest book, Humanity on A Tightrope, should find common ground with everyone. Which is what the book is about: how strengthening both empathy and a shared sense of kinship – even with seeming strangers living far away from us – are crucial steps to keep humanity from falling into global calamity. Ehrlich now believes that expanding the domain of empathy and rethinking what “family” means to us could be powerful tools towards a better future.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Paul Ehrlich about how the effects of rapid population growth, sky-high consumption, loss of biodiversity, increasing toxicity of the environment and numerous other systemic problems, requires all humans to mutually expand their commitment to empathy in order to stay balanced with ourselves and the planet.
Paul Ehrlich is Bing Professor of Population Studies and President of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University. He is the author of The Population Bomb, one of the first books to bring environmental science to the general public. Of his some 40 books, Human Natures and The Dominant Animal have brought home the seriousness of the mismatch between human behavior and the chances of a global collapse of civilization.