Paul Ehrlich, Ph.D.

President, Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University

Paul R. Ehrlich received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. He has been a pioneer in alerting the public to the problems of overpopulation and in raising issues of population, resources and the environment as matters of public policy. Professor Ehrlich's research group covers several areas and continues to study the dynamics and genetics of natural populations of checkerspot butterflies (Euphydryas). This research has applications to such problems as the control of insect pests and optimum designs for nature reserves.

Professor Ehrlich has received several honorary degrees, the John Muir Award of the Sierra Club, the Gold Medal Award of the World Wildlife Fund International, a MacArthur Prize Fellowship and many others. Members of Professor Ehrlich’s research group have gone on to join the faculties of Princeton, Brown, and the Universities of California, Nevada, Texas and Florida.

Courtesy: Stanford University

Podcast Guest Appearances

The Population Bomb, 50 Years Later: A Conversation with Paul Ehrlich

In 1968, the best-seller “The Population Bomb,” written by Paul and Anne Ehrlich (but credited solely to Paul) warned of the perils of overpopulation: mass starvation, societal upheaval, environmental deterioration. The book was criticized at the time for painting an overly dark picture of the future. But while not all of the Ehrlich’s dire predictions have come to pass, the world’s population has doubled since then, to over seven billion, straining the planet’s resources and heating up our climate. Can the earth continue to support an ever-increasing number of humans?

Are Human Lives Improving?

In their 1968 book The Population Bomb, Paul and Anne Ehrlich warned of the dangers of overpopulation. These included mass starvation, societal upheaval and environmental ruin. This and other dire predictions about humankind earned Ehrlich a reputation as a prophet of doom, and fifty years later he doesn’t see much in the way of improvement. Harvard cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker, on the other hand, prefers to look on the bright side: people are living longer, extreme poverty has been decreasing globally, worldwide literacy is on the rise. Is the glass half empty, or half full?