Human Population and the Environment
The Population Bomb! (Paul Ehrlich)
1) What is the central argument of the Population Bomb! Why do you think this book was so controversial in its day? What is meant by the terms “birth-rate solutions” and “death-rate solutions. Define these terms and give 2 examples of each.
2) The essay was written in 1968, and many of Ehrlich’s predictions did not come to fruition. Does this imply that the neo-Malthusian perspective is inherently wrong (and that the Cornucopians are more correct)? Or does this mean that the doomsday scenario just hasn’t happened yet? Explain.
3) Ehrlich states: “Doubling the population normally much more than doubles environmental deterioration”. Explain this statement.
4) What is meant by the term ‘carrying capacity’? How does this relate to Ehrlich’s ideas? How does this relate to the environment in general?
5) What is the current world population?

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