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    paul r. ehrlich Quotes

    Most of the scientists I know think civilization is teetering on the brink of a global disaster. They just don't know when it's going to hit. I don't have the answer to that either. I'm scared as hell.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    Woman should have the choice whether to have an abortion or not, but I like what Bill Clinton said: It ought to be safe and rare. You don't want to offend people with it. You try and do as much as you can to let people be different, but also to try and protect them from things that they think are bad. And it's worth all of us giving a little.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: people  women  choice  giving  bad  worth 
     
    Your children should have it impressed upon them that their adult life-style will bear very little resemblance to yours and that they should now be acquiring knowledge, skills, values, and tastes that will sustain them in less materially affluent circumstances. On the other hand, the fresh insights and imaginations of your children may help you find a viable future while there's still time.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    People have to decide, first of all, how they'd like to live, and how secure they want to be from disaster. After that, scientists can help determine what would be necessary to achieve that.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: people  live  help  achieve  scientist 
     
    Chinese are already more on board than we are. China is the only country that actually discussed in formal government documents how important it is to control the size of your populations if you're going to limit emissions.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    So, regarding the time frame, I'm only too willing to admit that my crystal ball, like everybody else's, is cracked. If I could predict precisely, I would have started predicting the stock market and would now be living with a bunch of young women on Bora Bora, having bought it.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: time  women  living  young  stock 
     
    My first policy move would be to try to get a conversation going in the US about what people stand for and what we really want. Do we want to keep adding people to the world and to our country until we move to a battery-chicken kind of existence and then collapse? Or do we want to think hard about what really is valuable to us, and figure out how many people we can supply that to sustainably?
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: people  world  existence 
     
    Organisms are starting to move in response to climate change all over the place. Bees are disappearing and we don't have many of the native pollinators left to replace them. We're in deep trouble; there's no question about it. But ecologists tend to think of something that's going to be bad in ten years as very fast, and of course, politicians only think of things in a two-, four-, six-year cycle.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: bad  questions  year 
     
    I kind of like carbon taxes because we already know how to apply them. We already have apparatus in place. When we talk about these other solutions - like a billion tons of iron filings in the ocean or putting sunshades between us and the sun - they're huge. We have no idea if they will work. We have no idea what their nasty consequences might be. And it's unlikely we can do them anyway.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: work  ocean  ideas  tax  consequence 
     
    With taxes, if they aren't working right, we can change them with a stroke of the pen. It's basically a market-type mechanism. People make their own choices. You run the taxes, and you get the results.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: people  choice  right  tax 
     
    Actually, the problem in the world is that there are too many rich people.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: people  world  problem 
     
    We're never all going to agree with each other. We have to learn to value the diversity. It's one of the presumable principles of our government that isn't followed nearly enough - one of the jobs of the majority is to try and make the minority feel comfortable.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    There's no question at all that the population explosion will come to an end. The two basic choices are it'll come to an end because we control our reproduction, and in many areas we have started to do so, or we'll end up with a high death rate. You have to take a personal moral stand on this.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    There are substitutes for oil; there is no substitute for fresh water.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: water  substitute 
     
    Anyone who opposes methods to control the birth rate, is automatically voting in favour having the death rate go up.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: death  control  birth 
     
    We ought to take good care of everybody we have on the planet, but we ought to regulate the rate at which people join us. The old saying is, "It's the top of the ninth inning, and humanity has been hitting nature hard, but you've always got to remember that nature bats last."
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: humanity  nature  people  care  saying 
     
    Overall, The Population Bomb was probably too optimistic. I was writing about climate change - Anne and I actually wrote the book. We discussed whether or not you'd have to take a gondola to the Empire State Building, and that sort of thing, but we didn't know at the time whether the climate change would be in the direction of heating or cooling. We just didn't know enough about it.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: time  writing  book 
     
    I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: money  england  year 
     
    The mother of the year should be a sterilized woman with two adopted children
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: children  women  child  mother  year 
     
    In pushing other species to extinction, humanity is busy sawing off the limb on which it perches.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: humanity 
     
    In ten years [i.e., 1980] all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: animals  year 
     
    To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: human  computer 
     
    Solving the population problem is not going to solve the problems of racism, of sexism, of religious intolerance, of war, of gross economic inequality. But if you don't solve the population problem, you're not going to solve any of those problems. Whatever problem you're interested in, you're not going to solve it unless you also solve the population problem. Whatever your cause, it's a lost cause without population control.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    Too many cars, too many factories, too much detergent, too much pesticides, multiplying contrails, inadequate sewage treatment plants, too little water, too much carbon dioxide - all can be traced easily to too many people.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: people  water 
     
    By 1985 enough millions will have died to reduce the earth's population to some acceptable level, like 1.5 billion people.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: people  earth 
     
    All scientists who've looked at it know we have to phase away from burning fossil fuels. That means we've got to put a lot of effort into alternate energy technologies, but we're still subsidizing fossil fuels and not subsidizing most of the alternatives. It's not going to be an easy transition.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    For example, I'm a great fan of pornography, but I don't see any reason not to restrict it so that people walking down the street who hate pornography don't have full color pictures outside of movie theaters. Let them be in a different district. I'm kidding about pornography, but you get the point.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: people  hate  movie  example 
     
    Recycling helps make people feel involved, and in some cases can be useful. Although you've got to do careful life history studies of what you're recycling. If all you're doing is recycling - if you've got three automobiles, and 10 children, and a 7,000-square-foot dot-com palace and second home up in the mountains that has to be heated - the recycling isn't making much difference.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: children  people  help  child 
     
    If we were redesigning around people instead of around automobiles, which I think the market is more or less going to do, although too slowly, than I'd be a lot cheerier.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: people 
     
    There are a lot of signs. One of the things that makes me most nervous is the disappearance of the frogs. They're going downhill all over the planet. Frogs are susceptible to all kinds of problems, because they require water to breed and their skin is very porous. Their condition is nerve racking.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: problem  water  frog 
     
    There's all of this stuff where we have so much debate over nonsense; it could be cured if we had a better educational system, if we trained people to really try and look into things on their own. That's a tough thing to do, particularly with the educational system staggering.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    We know that if you have $20 million, it's better to buy a van Gough print than it is buy an executive jet, from the point of view of the environment. But when you start getting down, it's like the recycling question: What are things we can really afford to do, and how much pleasure do we get out of them? We haven't even started to have that discussion, and it's getting awfully late.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    Sometimes I think the Congress feels that if you only decided tomorrow to switch to wind power that in two years we'd be getting 80 percent of our electricity from wind power. It's nonsense. Normally it takes 20 to 30 years after a new technology is demonstrated and deployed before it powers even 15 or 20 percent of the grid. There's this long lag time, and we haven't even decided which directions to go.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    We've all got to get together and demand something better out of our government and out of each other. We've got a system that's making us working harder, and isn't giving us satisfaction. We've got to sit down and decide what the hell we really want to be as human beings.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: human  hell  giving  government 
     
    I thought if the climate was heating that CO2 was the only forcing, and it would be late in the century before we had trouble. Now that we know about the other half of the forcing, it's obvious that the trouble is coming much sooner.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: thoughts 
     
    You take the huge income that comes with a big gas tax, and you use it to pay off regressive taxes like the FICA [Federal Insurance Contributions Act] tax. You can help the poor in other ways besides giving them cheap gas. You want to send the message that people want to be as efficient as possible using gasoline until we can transition away from that need entirely.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: people  giving  help  poor  tax 
     
    We're one of the most highly regulated industries, and we have to pay attention to what government is doing.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    People have not made the connection that the more of us there are, the more greenhouse gases go into the atmosphere. The Chinese have. They, unlike us, have a population policy. The right wingers just don't understand that the country they're in is probably the most overpopulated in the world, the one doing most of the destruction, and the one with horrendously bad leadership.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    The drilling idea is spherically senseless - it's senseless from whatever point of view you look at it. It'd take 10 years to bring any oil online, and it would probably go to Japan. It sure wouldn't help gasoline prices here. All the economists say gasoline is still too cheap in the United States anyway. So here we're having this huge debate over offshore drilling that is just straightforward nonsense, which won't surprise you.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
    tags: help  ideas  year 
     
    I don't think scientists can dictate from above what we should do, because it's not a matter of scientific decision. If you want to have everybody living like a Beverly Hills millionaire, then 2 billion people might be too many. If we want to have a battery-chicken kind of world, with everybody having an absolute minimum diet, you might be able to support 10 billion.
    — Paul R. Ehrlich
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