At GreenWatch we now have archived an interactive list of the “worst environmental prophecies of catastrophic doom.” It is a list of eleven of the most interesting and pointed cases of environmental activists raising the red alert, and the unintended fall out from it.
Today we highlight the “Population Bomb” entry number two on our list:
In 1798 Thomas Malthus’ An Essay on the Principle of Population concluded that human population was growing geometrically (2, 4, 8, 16, etc.), outstripping an arithmetic rise in food production (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.). In 1968, Paul Ehrlich restated Malthus in his book The Population Bomb. Its famous first words, “The battle to feed all humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death…,” were widely repeated by advocates for population control. In 1968 Ehrlich started his own organization Zero Population Growth (which in 2002 changed its name to the less draconian Population Connection). Other prominent Malthusians include the group Population Action International, Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute, David Pimentel of Cornell University, and Russell Hopfenberg of Duke University.