OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Population expert to attack ecological 'backlash'

04/02/1997

CORVALLIS - Paul Ehrlich, perhaps the world's leading expert on global overpopulation and the myriad problems it can cause, will convey his newest environmental warning in a lecture April 9 at Oregon State University.

In a new book titled "Betrayal of Science and Reason: How Anti-Environmental Rhetoric Threatens Our Future," Ehrlich criticizes those groups - from political pundits to special interest lobbies and the public news media - who he says too often promote "feel-good fables" that make light of very real threats to the environment.

Ehrlich will examine that topic in his OSU address at 7 p.m. in the LaSells Stewart Center. It is free and open to the public.

He will also speak at Lewis and Clark College in Portland on Friday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m. on the topic "Overpopulation: Why It's Important and What Should be Done About It." Tickets for that address are $25 and can be obtained by calling (503) 768-6672.

Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford University, became internationally prominent three decades ago with his publication of "The Population Bomb," a hard-hitting analysis of the looming crisis overpopulation poses on a global scale.

"Ehrlich has consistently been at the forefront of critical issues of the day," said Jane Lubchenco, a distinguished professor of zoology at OSU and recent president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"His new book exposes the destructive 'brownlash' activities which seek to prevent society from dealing reasonably with serious environmental challenges," she said. "Ehrlich is quick, provocative, and usually right."

During his career, Ehrlich has studied evolution, the dynamics and genetics of population, the effects of crowding on human beings, and the influence of the popular press on the conduct of science. Field work has taken him to every continent, the Arctic and Antarctic, and even the ocean floor.

Most recently, he has expressed alarm about those who downplay the reality of global environmental problems, despite a frequent consensus in the science community on such topics as desertification, food production, global warming, ozone depletion, acid rain and species extinction.

Ehrlich has authored more than 700 scientific papers and many books. He is a fellow of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, recipient of a MacArthur Prize and been honored widely for his ecological advocacy.