Avoiding a collapse of civilisation: our chances, prospects and pathways forward

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's global civilisation is threatened with collapse by an array of environmental problems. In this special presentation, Professor Ehrlich will give a talk about his recent conclusions.

Professor Ehrlich will then be joined by leading ecological scientists to participate in an in-depth panel discussion. The panel will extend and discuss Professor Ehrlich’s topics as they relate to sustainability politics in Australia. They will broach controversial topics from food and energy supply to the politics of greed. How much scientific evidence underlies our national decision-making?

The panel includes 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 will chair the panel session.

About the speaker

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.