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Can a collapse of civilisation be avoided and how might Oz help?

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14 March 2013 Video length icon 47:33
Video tags icon environmental science, sustainability

For the first time an array of interconnected problems is moving a global civilisation toward collapse. Driven by increasing overpopulation and overconsumption by the rich, these dilemmas include climate disruption, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, global poisoning, depletion of resources (especially soils and groundwater), and the threat of vast famines, epidemics and resource wars. Only a concerted effort to reduce the scale of society, revise the world’s entire energy-mobilising and water-handling infrastructures, and focus much more attention on agriculture and equity seems likely to much improve the human prospect. Growth is the disease; sustainability is attainable, but only with unprecedented rethinking, effort, and cooperation. Australia has the potential to become the international leader, a model for moving society off its present course to catastrophe. All it needs to do so is the political will.

About the speaker

Professor Paul Ehrlich is a prominent, award winning ecologist, entomologist, biologist, educator, author, fighter against scientific racism and pioneer in exploring the horrendous environmental impacts of nuclear war. Professor Ehrlich’s passion is to investigate how the living world works and develop a globally integrated view of what is required to maintain a suitable environment for future generations. His research has brought him every accolade the scientific community can award. He became well known after the publication of his controversial book The Population Bomb. He is widely published arguing that population growth, overconsumption, the use of faulty technologies and our socio-political-economic arrangements threaten the fabric of nature, and thus the environmental security of future generations.

UTS Science in Focus is a free public lecture series showcasing the latest research from prominent UTS scientists and researchers.

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