The Population Explosion

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Tuesday November 6, 2007.

The Population Explosion, by Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich Author(s): Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich
Publisher: Touchstone Books
ISBN: 0671732943
Amazon | Shelfari
This is the second book I picked up on my last doomed trio to the Carson City Library. I searched through a section that included some topics that I thought I’d love, and this one jumped out. The description told me that I would learn why population is the biggest contributor to global environmental problems (which, if you really think about it, should be pretty obvious). I was interested in learning what th specific reasons behind that assertion were, so I grabbed it. For the second book in a row, I was unable to read through the entire thing.

Here is what I wrote on Shelfari:

At this point, I’m not sure what this book can offer that much that’s going to enlighten us in 2007. Having been written in 1991, a lot of the major issues are either embedded in the consciousness of the modern public or have been dealt with adequately to render them less critical. For instance, one of the major issues that the Ehrlichs discuss is the hole in the ozone layer. In 1991 that was a serious environmental concern, but has been reversed today to the point that the hole is no longer an issue. Al Gore briefly discussed how population is causing environmental problems in “An Inconvenient Truth,” which is something far more of us have seen than have read or will read this book. If you couple the fact that this book is relatively obsolete with the preachy tone (the authors excoriate to us that we must change or we’ll be complicit in the demise of humanity) that I got from the first several chapters, you have a book that’s best avoided unless it can be updated to focus on more relevant issues to this decade, or even century.

The preaching is really what got to me the most. I was willing to entertain that the book was outdated and several of the specifics they brought up had been dealt with or were in the midst of being worked on, but the occasional scolding that I got for being a part of society was a little much. So I gave up. Unlike Wikinomics I can’t suggest anyone check this book out. Unless, of course, I deem it necessary to gain enough enviro-cred for the conversation I’m in at the moment. And if you’re a windbag. Then I’ll suggest you read this book. Otherwise, steer clear. You’ll get what you need out of Al Gore, and he only preaches for an hour and a half.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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