Image - Paul Ehrlich and detail from his book cover
Past Event

Paul R. Ehrlich's Life: A Journey Through Science and Politics

A renowned scientist and environmental advocate looks back on a life that has straddled the worlds of science and politics.

Acclaimed as a public scientist and as a spokesperson on pressing environmental and equity issues, Paul R. Ehrlich reflects on his life, from his love affair with his wife Anne, to his scientific research, public advocacy, and concern for global issues. Interweaving the range of his experiences—as an airplane pilot, a desegregationist, a proud parent—Ehrlich’s offers valuable insights on pressing issues such as biodiversity loss, overpopulation, depletion of resources, and deterioration of the environment. A lifelong advocate for women’s reproductive rights, Ehrlich also helped to debunk scientific bias associating skin color and intelligence and warned some 50 years ago about a possible pandemic and the likely ecological consequences of a nuclear war.

His new book Life: A Journey Through Science and Politics, focuses on the human predicament, including problems of governance and democracy in the 21st century, and insight into the ecological and evolutionary science of our day. It is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding global change, our planet’s wonders, and a scientific approach to the present existential threats to civilization.

Paul Ehrlich is the Bing Professor of Population Studies, Emeritus, and president of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University. He has carried out field, laboratory and theoretical research on the dynamics and genetics of insect populations, the evolutionary interactions of plants and herbivores, the behavioral ecology of birds and reef fishes, the effects of crowding on human beings, human cultural evolution, and health problems related to industrialization. He is author and co-author of more than 1,100 scientific papers and articles and more than 40 books. Ehrlich is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society. Among his many other honors is the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Crafoord Prize. He has appeared on more than 1,000 TV and radio programs and was a correspondent for NBC News.

MLF Organizer
Andrew Dudley

A People & Nature Member-led Forums program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums.

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Bernard Osher Foundation

Main image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay; speaker photos courtesy the speakers.

Speaker photo by Gerado Ceballos.

February 23, 2023

The Commonwealth Club of California
United States

Image - Paul Ehrlich

Paul Ehrlich

Ph.D., Bing Professor of Population Studies, Emeritus, and President of the Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University

Image George Hammond

George Hammond

Author, Conversations With Socrates; Chair, Humanities Member-led Forum, The Commonwealth Club of California—Moderator