Erlich and Holdren, 1993

Understanding the threats to human survival

The Prize Jury’s Citation:
The Prize of 1993 is awarded to an evolutionary biologist, Professor Paul R. Ehrlich, and an anergy resources scienstist, Professor John P. Holdren, for their outstanding and pioneering contributions to our understanding of the threats to human development and survival, particularly those arising from the rapid growth of populations in developing countries and of the high level of per capita resource consumption in industrialized countries.

Sixty years ago, the world population was slightly above 2 billion people. When Holdren and erlich recieved the Volvo Environment Prize it was approximately 5.5 billion. As of 26 September 2009, the Earth’s population is estimated to be 6.8 billion. The majority of the present population and by far the majority new children being born live or will be born in developing countries with low per capita consumption. In the industrialized world we are a little more than 1 billion people with a very high per capita consumption, and it has been increasing over a long period of time. The total resource consumption of the few in the industrialised world is much higher than that of the many in the rest of the world. The effects of this are no longer either small or local. The industrial world makes its enormous natural resource demands with its unacceptable environmental effects. The developing countries its population problems and poverty leads to degradation of the environment.

Two individuals who have greatly contributed to the scientific work and the broad understanding behind this are our two laureates, Paul Ehrlich, biologist, and John Holdren, nuclear physicist. Their work has laid the foundations of our understanding of how the dynamics of population growth, rising living standards and changing technology, as well as the relationships among them, interact in the context of environmental problems.

Professor Paul Ehrlich

Professor John Holdren


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