Paul Ehrlich - Avoiding a collapse of civilisation Our chances, prospects and pathways forward

Event details


21 March 2013


Manning Clarke Centre Lecture Theatre 1, ANU


  • Professor Paul Ehrlich, Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University
  • Professor Corey Bradshaw, Environment Institute, University of Adelaide
  • Professor David Lindenmayer, Fenner School of Environment & Society, ANU
  • Professor Graham Pyke, University of Technology Sydney
  • Professor Steve Dovers, Fenner School of Environment & Society, ANU

Environmental problems have contributed to numerous collapses of civilizations in the past. Now, for the first time, a global collapse appears possible and at the same time avoidable. Population growth supercharged by significantly increasing consumption interacting with our choices of technologies are major drivers. Dramatic cultural change provides the main hope of averting calamity. Paul and Anne Ehrlich have written a paper on how humanity’sglobal civilisation is threatened with collapse by an array of environmental problems. In this special presentation, Professor Ehrlich gave a talk about his recent conclusions.

Professor Ehrlich was then joined by leading ecological scientists to participate in an in-depth panel discussion. The panel extended and discussed Professor Ehrlich’s topics as they related to sustainability politics in Australia.

The panel included Professor Corey Bradshaw from the Environment Institute, Professor David Lindenmayer from ANU, and Professor Graham Pyke from University of Technology Sydney. Professor Stephen Dovers, Director of the Fenner School of Environment chaired the panel session.

Paul Ehrlich is the Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University, president of Stanford’s Center for Conservation Biology and Adjunct Professor, University of Technology, Sydney. By training he is an entomologist specializing in Lepidoptera (butterflies), but he is also a prominent ecologist and demographer. Ehrlich is best known for his dire warnings about population growth and limited resources. He became well-known after publication of his controversial 1968 book The Population Bomb.

The special event was presented by the Environment Institute at the University of Adelaide and the Fenner School of Environment & Society at the Australian National University.

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