Ehrlich, Paul R(alph) 1932-

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EHRLICH, Paul R(alph) 1932-

PERSONAL: Born May 29, 1932, in Philadelphia, PA; son of William (a salesman) and Ruth (a Latin teacher; maiden name, Rosenberg) Ehrlich; married Anne Fitzhugh Howland (a biologist and writer), December 18, 1954; children: Lisa Marie. Education: University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 1953; University of Kansas, M.A., 1955, Ph.D., 1957. Politics: Independent.

ADDRESSES: Home—Pine Hill, Stanford, CA 94305. Offıce—Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305.

CAREER: Biologist, environmentalist. Field officer on Northern Insect Survey, summers, 1951-52; associate investigator on United States Air Force research project in AK, 1956-57; Chicago Academy of Science, Chicago, IL, research associate, 1957-58; University of Kansas, Lawrence, research associate, 1958-59; Stanford University, Stanford, CA, assistant professor, 1959-62, associate professor, 1962-66, professor of biological sciences, 1966—, Bing Professor of Biological Sciences, 1976—, director of biological science graduate study department, 1966-69, 1974-76; has conducted field work worldwide. Editor in population biology and consultant in biology, McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1964—; Associate of Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions; Behavioral Research Laboratories, consultant, 1963-67; Zero Population Growth, founder, 1969; National Broadcasting Company (NBC) correspondent, 1989-92.

MEMBER: International Association for Ecology, National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (fellow), American Institute of Biological Science, Society of Systematic Zoology, American Society of Naturalists, Lepidopterists Society (secretary, 1957-63), American Museum of Natural History (honorary life member), American Association of University Professors, California Academy of Sciences (fellow), Society for the Study of Evolution (vice-president, 1970), Sigma Xi.

AWARDS, HONORS: National Institutes of Health fellowship, 1959; National Science Foundation fellow, University of Sydney, 1965-66; Bestseller's Paperback of the Year award, 1970, for The Population Bomb; John Muir award, Sierra Club; World Wildlife Federation medal, 1987; Crafoord Prize in Population Biology and the Conservation of Biological Diversity, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 1990; MacArthur Prize fellowship, 1990-95; Volvo environmental prize, 1993; World Ecology medal, International Center for Tropical Ecology, 1993; United Nations Sasakawa environmental prize (with wife, Anne), 1994; Heinz prize (with wife, Anne), 1995; Tyler environmental prize, 1998; Heineken prize for environmental science, 1998; Blue Planet prize, 1999.


(With wife, Anne H. Ehrlich) How to Know the Butterflies, W. C. Brown (Dubuque, IA), 1961.

(With Richard W. Holm) The Process of Evolution, illustrated by Anne H. Ehrlich, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1963, 1974.
Principles of Modern Biology, Addison-Wesley (Reading, MA), 1968.

(Compiler, with Richard W. Holm and Peter H. Raven) Papers on Evolution, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1968.

The Population Bomb, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1968, revised and expanded edition, 1971, revised edition, Rivercity Press (Rivercity, MA), 1975.

(With Anne H. Ehrlich) Population, Resources, Environment: Issues in Human Ecology, W. H. Freeman, 1970, 1972.

(With Richard L. Harriman) How to Be a Survivor: A Plan to Save Spaceship Earth, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1971.

(Editor and compiler, with John P. Holdren) Global Ecology: Readings toward a Rational Strategy for Man, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (New York, NY), 1971.

(Compiler, with John P. Holdren and Richard W. Holm) Man and the Ecosphere: Readings from Scientific American, W. H. Freeman (San Francisco, CA), 1971.

(With Richard W. Holm and Michael E. Soulé) Introductory Biology, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1973.

(With Anne H. Ehrlich and John P. Holdren) Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions, W. H. Freeman (San Francisco, CA), 1973.

(With Anne H. Ehrlich) The End of Affluence: A Blueprint for Your Future, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1974.

(With Dennis Pirages) Ark II: Social Response to Environmental Imperatives, W. H. Freeman (San Francisco, CA), 1974.

(With Richard W. Holm and Irene L. Brown) Biology and Society, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1976.

(With S. Shirley Feldman) The Race Bomb: Skin Color, Prejudice, and Intelligence, New York Times Book Co. (New York, NY), 1977.

(With Anne H. Ehrlich and John P. Holdren) Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment, W. H. Freeman (San Francisco, CA), 1977.

(With Howell V. Daly and John T. Doyen) Introduction to Insect Biology and Diversity, illustrated by Barbara Boole Daly, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1978.

(With Anne H. Ehrlich and Loy Bilderback) The Golden Door: International Migration, Mexico, and the United States, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1979.

(With Anne H. Ehrlich) Extinction: The Causes and Consequences of the Disappearance of Species, Random House (New York, NY), 1981.

(Editor, with Carl Sagan, Donald Kennedy, and Walter Orr Roberts) The Cold and Dark: The World after Nuclear War: The Conference on the Long-Term Worldwide Biological Consequences of Nuclear War, W. W. Norton (New York, NY), 1984.

The Machinery of Nature, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1986.

(With Jonathan Roughgarden) The Science of Ecology, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1987.

(With Anne H. Ehrlich) Earth, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1987.

(Editor, with John P. Holdren) The Cassandra Conference: Resources and the Human Predicament, Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 1988.

(With David S. Dobkin and Darryl Wheye) The Birder's Handbook: A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds, illustrated by Shahid Naeem, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1988.

(With Robert Ornstein) New World New Mind: Moving Toward Conscious Evolution, Doubleday (New York), 1989.

(With Anne H. Ehrlich) The Population Explosion, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1990.

(With Anne H. Ehrlich) Healing the Planet: Strategies for Resolving the Environmental Crisis, Addison-Wesley (Reading, MA), 1991.

(With David S. Dobkin and Darryl Wheye) Birds in Jeopardy: The Imperiled and Extinct Birds of the United States and Canada Including Hawaii and Puerto Rico, illustrated by Darryl Wheye, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1992.

(Editor, with Denis A. Saunders and Richard J. Hobbs) Reconstruction of Fragmented Ecosystems: Global and Regional Perspectives, Surrey Beatty and Sons (Chipping Norton, New South Wales, Australia), 1993.

(With David S. Dobkin and Darryl Wheye) The Birdwatcher's Handbook: A Guide to the Natural History of the Birds of Britain and Europe: Including 516 Species that Regularly Breed in Europe and Adjacent Parts of the Middle East and North Africa, illustrated by Shahid Naeem, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1994.

(With Anne H. Ehrlich and Gretchen C. Daily) The Stork and the Plow: The Equity Answer to the Human Dilemma, Putnam (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Anne H. Ehrlich) Betrayal of Science and Reason: How Anti-Environmental Rhetoric Threatens Our Future, Island Press (Washington, DC), 1996.

A World of Wounds: Ecologists and the Human Dilemma (Volume 8; "Excellence in Ecology" series), Ecology Institute (Oldendorf/Luhe, Germany), 1999.

Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect, Island Press (Washington, DC), 2000.

(With Andrew Beattie) Wild Solutions: How Biodiversity is Money in the Bank, illustrated by Christine Turnbull, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2001.

(Editor, with Carol L. Boggs and Ward B. Watt) Butterflies: Ecology and Evolution Taking Flight, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2003.

(Editor, with Ilkka Hanski) On the Wings of Checkerspots: A Model System for Population Biology, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

(With Anne H. Ehrlich) One with Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future, Island Press (Washington, DC), 2004.

Contributor to books by others, including The Environmental Handbook, edited by Garrett DeBell, Ballantine, 1970; The Environmental Crisis, edited by Harold W. Helfrich, Jr., Yale University Press, 1970; author, with others, The Collected Papers: Index and Bibliography, Volume IV, Pergamon; contributor of articles to scientific journals and periodicals; member of editorial board, Systematic Zoology, 1964-67, and International Journal of Environmental Science, 1969—.

SIDELIGHTS: Biologist and environmental activist Paul R. Ehrlich became hooked on science at an early age. He amassed a huge collection of butterflies, numbering in the thousands, which he later donated to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where the teenager worked alongside the Curator of Entomology, Dr. Charles Michener. During his long career, Ehrlich has written and edited several volumes in which butterflies are studied as evolutionary indicators. When Michener went to the University of Kansas, so did Ehrlich. He studied evolutionary biology and natural selection of insects exposed to DDT, and his field work in the Canadian Arctic led to his expanding interest in human populations and cultures, and he was one of the first to write about human ecology and ecosystems.

Ehrlich's wife, Anne, is also his professional partner in writing many books, beginning in 1961. With the publication of the The Population Bomb, inspired by their trip to India, they became known as a population control experts and environmental activists. His appearance on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson generated thousands of letters to the network and dozens each week to Ehrlich. He announced that he had had a vasectomy and founded Zero Population Growth to promote smaller families.

In an entry in American Environmental Leaders: From Colonial Times to the Present, the writer noted that Ehrlich "argued for a 'luxury tax' on such items as diapers and baby food and supported a proposal that the U.S. government not send food aid to countries such as India that had not taken any measures to curb population growth."

Kathryn Wald Hausbeck noted in Leaders from the 1960s: A Biographical Sourcebook of American Activism that The Population Bomb "set the tone and theme" that frequently surfaces in Ehrlich's later writings. "Specifically, he educates readers in all of the basic principles related to the issue being discussed by writing in an understandable manner and frequently using short stories, scenarios, analogies, and real global examples to illustrate his points and convey his message. Ehrlich also masterfully combines scientific tenets with political criticism, social critique, and values clarification, while resisting the use of dogma. This combination characterizes Ehrlich's writings for the general public, and it also parallels his own personal development from pure scientist to social scientist, political critic, and environmental activist."

Ehrlich has remained at Stanford University over his entire career, while lecturing at hundreds of campuses, writing scientific articles, and participating in environmental conferences worldwide. His books and other writings encompass subjects such as resource exploitation, including deforestation and overfishing, changes in greenhouse gases, depletion of the ozone layer, toxins in the environment, and decreasing clean air, water, and topsoil.

In The Golden Door: International Migration, Mexico, and the United States, Ehrlich addresses a specific population issue. Washington Post Book World writer Christopher Dickey commented that the book "brings into focus virtually all the crucial problems [of immigrants] and explains, as must be done, why some of the most troubling issues related to international migration remain blurred by ignorance." Dickey also noted the authors' "skill and patience" in examining immigration and commended the book's "many virtues." Robert Sherrill of the New York Times Book Review called it a "fascinating book," adding that "the solutions to the immigration crisis that [the authors] offer as possibilities are vague and not very hopeful. But never mind. In most respects, The Golden Door is a first-rate book, an excitingly scary book that sizes up a mammoth problem that the politicians appear determined to ignore for as long as possible."

In Extinction: The Causes and Consequences of the Disappearance of Species, the Ehrlichs alert readers to the hazards of allowing any species of life to die out, and in particular, identify potential dangers to mankind when other species become extinct. New York Times Book Review critic Bayard Webster observed that in Extinction, they "explain in dramatic, definitive, and entertaining fashion the reason for the general alarm, and then present their strategy for the prevention of further extinctions, including our own." Webster concluded that the Ehrlichs "have produced a very readable volume that, in addition to demonstrating the importance of preserving species, is an invaluable compendium of facts, events, and theories of evolution, biology, environmental history, and ecology."

The Population Explosion, published twenty-two years after The Population Bomb, provides a continuing discussion of the subject. In The Stork and the Plow: The Equity Answer to the Human Dilemma, Ehrlich and his coauthors consider the increase in the human population as compared to the production of food to feed it. They feel that as development engulfs crop lands, oceans yield less bounty, and deforestation accelerates, the balance will become threatened. Their solution includes zero growth population, eating less meat, and more walking, less driving. They also note that in cultures where women have gained equality and more choice in how they conduct their lives, birth rates have dropped.

In Betrayal of Science and Reason: How Anti-Environmental Rhetoric Threatens Our Future, the Ehrlichs study the forces or "brownlash" that threaten the environmental movement. Science reviewer Daniel Sarewitz noted the book's "pleasures, such as refutation of economist Julian Simon's contorted arguments against controlling population growth and a demolition of the late Dixie Lee Ray's misbegotten attacks on atmospheric science. But there is pain too. The Ehrlichs' professional aim of 'reaching out to a broad audience of readers' is undermined by their elitist tone. They sprinkle 'Harvard' and 'Stanford' attributions throughout the text like holy water. And while they point out many egregious examples of misuse and manipulation of data by brownlashers, they fail to consider similar selectivity in the cause of environmentalism."

BioScience contributor Norman Myers felt that the book "does a rattling good job. . . . The Ehrlich's take on their task with relish. How they manage it after so many years is beyond me, but they still leap into battles as dauntless as ever."

Ehrlich drew on his vast knowledge of evolution in writing Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect. A Publishers Weekly reviewer felt that this book "is so well-researched and so elegantly presented that it stands as one of the best introductions to human evolution in recent memory." Ehrlich contends that we are "painted in the popular mind as instinctively aggressive, greedy, selfish, duplicitous, sex-crazed, cruel, and generally brutish creatures with a veneer of 'social responsibility.'" While he admits that these qualities can be found within the population, he denies that they are hard-wired into the human mind or that we share a common human nature. Further, he says that if we did, evolution would be crippled.

Daniel Grassam wrote in Skeptical Inquirer that Human Natures "is a gratifying trip through the evolution of human natures. The copious notes provide enjoyable supplementary material, and the extensive references provide a good launchpad for additional research. Ehrlich has written an informative and socially responsible book that at no point becomes preachy or lets the science suffer for the opinion."

The Ehrlichs's One with Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future brings their research and observations into the twenty-first century and suggests ways in which overconsumption, overpopulation, and economic and political inequities should be addressed. The volume's chapters cover demographics, economics, migration, biodiversity, ethics, climate, politics, and globalization. A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that "although wide-reaching in range, this is a direct and levelheaded presentation that should get, and deserves, wide readership."



Becher, Anne, editor, with others, American Environmental Leaders: From Colonial Times to the Present, Volume 1, ABC-CLIO (Santa Barbara, CA), 2000.

Cox, Donald W., Pioneers of Ecology, Hammond, 1971.

Notable Scientists: From 1900 to the Present, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.


American Scientist, January, 1997, Partha Dasgupta, review of The Stork and the Plow: The Equity Answer to the Human Dilemma, p. 88; May, 2001, Bobbi S. Low, review of Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect, p. 268; November, 2003, Henry S. Horn, review of Butterflies: Ecology and Evolution Taking Flight, p. 565.

BioScience, March, 1997, Norman Myers, review of Betrayal of Science and Reason: How Anti-Environmental Rhetoric Threatens Our Future, p. 182; March, 2001, Norman Myers, review of Human Natures, p. 248.

Booklist, May 1, 2004, Donna Seaman, review of One with Ninevah: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future, p. 1528.

Commentary, February, 2001, Francis Fukuyama, review of Human Natures, p. 62.

Ecology, April, 1998, David Tilman, review of A World of Wounds: Ecologists and the Human Dilemma, p. 1118.

Environment, June, 1996, Arthur H. Westing, review of The Stork and the Plow, p. 26.

Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy, fall, 2001, Douglas H. Shedd, review of Human Natures, p. 124.

M2 Best Books, June 15, 2004, review of Butterflies.

Nature, January 25, 1996, Basia Zaba, review of The Stork and the Plow, p. 308; October 10, 1996, Stuart Pimm, review of Betrayal of Science and Nature, p. 494; December 7, 2000, Vaclav Snil, review of Human Natures, p. 643; April 12, 2001, E. J. Milner-Gulland, review of Wild Solutions: How Biodiversity is Money in the Bank, p. 751.

New York Review of Books, July 11, 1996, Bill McKibben, review of The Stork and the Plow, p. 42.

New York Times Book Review, January 26, 1975, July 17, 1977, November 18, 1979, June 21, 1981.

Population and Development Review, March, 1996, Nathan Keyfitz, review of The Stork and the Plow, p. 157; March, 2002, Tom Fricke, review of Human Natures, p. 149.

Publishers Weekly, October 2, 2000, review of Human Natures, p. 70; March 8, 2004, review of One with Ninevah, p. 60.

Quarterly Review of Biology, March, 1999, S. T. A. Pickett, M. L. Cadenasso, review of A World of Wounds, p. 102; September, 2001, Mahendra Kumar Jain, review of Human Natures, p. 345.

Science, October 11, 1996, Daniel Sarewitz, review of Betrayal of Science and Reason, p. 198.

Scientific American, February, 2001, review of Human Natures, p. 92.

Skeptical Inquirer, July, 2001, Daniel Grassam, review of Human Natures, p. 60.

Times Higher Education Supplement, March 6, 1998, J. Burger, review of A World of Wounds, p. 1012; August 17, 2001, Paul Harvey, review of Human Natures, p. 24.

Washington Post Book World, December, 16, 1979, Christopher Dickey, review of The Golden Door: International Migration, Mexico, and the United States.

Whole Earth, summer, 1998, Paul Warshall, review of Betrayal of Science and Reason, p. 109.*