Posts Tagged ‘population’

Professor Gita Sen, 1994

September 26, 2009

banner1994The Prize Jury’s Citation:
Dr. Sen’s outstanding contribution takes the rich body of scholarship on how patterns of resource exploitation are affected by household- and community-level partitioning of rights and ownership, and successfully connects it to crucial national and international policy debates on population growth, the status of women, and sustainable development.

The growing population on the earth has developed into a main environmental problem. Professor Sen combines a distinguished academic career with policy advocacy and NGO activism. She is a pioneer in the field gender and development. Her pioneering research has created a broader understanding of the manner in which the relationship between environment and development is conditioned by social structures and, in particular, by the changing role of women within them.

Sir Ratan Tata Chair Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India; Adjunct Lecturer at the Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard University, USA. She was formerly Adjunct Lecturer at Harvard (1996-2002) and has been a Visiting Professor there and also at Vassar College, New York
Prof. Sen holds an M.A. in Economics from the University of Delhi and a Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University, USA

The complete picture
Gita Sen is the scientist with a basis in economy who has investigated and in a new way given a much more complete picture of the large complex of population problems. With a multidisciplinary attack she has brought out the fundamental importance of the environment, sociological conditions, and most importantly the often disregarded and misunderstood role of women, the mother, in the poor communities where the birth rates are the highest.

Her work on women and the environment has underscored the tremendous role women in the developing world play in husbanding their ecological assets, in managing the biomass production, and in the protection and conservation of the environment. Professor Sen has also articulated important linkages between environment and macroeconomic policies, poverty, and livelihood generation among the disadvantaged.

Specifically, from the environmental perspective, Gita Sen’s contribution is to see people as part of the solution, not the problem. Gita Sen has pointed at the fact that people in the South do not trust the intentions of the North with regard to population and many poor women and men in the South do not trust their officials involved in family planning programs. Far better and more practical, it would seem according to Gita Sen, to create the social and developmental preconditions for people to need and want fewer children than to attempt to convince them against their own best judgment. Population policies must be voluntary and firmly grounded in the human rights of the individual and in particular the reproductive rights of women whose physical and emotional well being is most at stake.

Professor Sen is the current chairman of the Volvo Environment Prize Jury.

She is the author, co-author or co-editor of several books on these gender-related issues. She is a founding member of DAWN (Development Alternatives with Woman for a New Era); a network of Third World researchers, activists and policy-makers committed to alternative development and gender justice.

She is a trustee of Health Watch (Indi) and of the Institute of Social Studies Trust (India). She is on the Board of the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and on several other international organisations and advisory groups. Among many honours she received the Volvo Environment Prize in 1994, and an honorary doctorate from the University of East Anglia in the UK in 1998.

Politics and policy
Her academic and policy activism in this field has been an inspiration to a whole generation of researchers, policy-makers of South and North, and non-governmental activists. Her recent work includes reserach and policy advocacy on the gender implications of globalisation and economic liberalisation, the gender dimensions of population policies, and the links beteen population and the environment.


Professor Paul R. Ehrlich, 1993

September 26, 2009

banner1993Paul R. Ehrlich is Bing Professor of Population Studies and professor of biology at Stanford University and a fellow of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics. Starting in the mid 1960s, Ehrlich has been a very productive author of professional papers and popular articles on different aspects on humankind’s environmental predicament.

Ehrlich has been tireless in presenting both to the scientific world and to the general public and politicians his well-founded concern for our common future. He has worked through popular presentations, scientific papers, and hundreds of lectures. He has focused on questions of environmental degradation, natural resource limitations, population growth, and development processes, especially highlighting the interface between scientific enquiry and societal values. He has taken the environmental cause into the wider public sphere through frequent appearances on television and radio. He is also an active leader in a number of non-governmental organizations and citizen groups.

The Bomb
His well-known book “The Population Bomb” from 1968  has sold more than 3 million copies and been translated into several languages.  The concept of the book was that the excessive population growth is inseparably connected with natural resource depletion and environmental degradation. These are three interlinked problems that can only be confronted together. In 1968, this was a very radical idea.
In the book he predicted that “In the 1970s and 1980s . . . hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”

The Popular Explosion: This sequel to Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 landmark best-seller The Population Bomb examines the critical choices we face today and proposes an agenda for the 1990s to avoid global ecocide. The Population Explosion vividly describes how the Earth’s population, growing by 95 million people a year, is rapidly depleting the planet’s resources, resulting in famine, global warming, acid rain, and other major problems.

The Dominant Animal: In 2008 Paul and Anne Ehrlich publiched “The Dominant Animal” that explores why we are creating a world that threatens our own species and what we can we do to change the current trajectory toward more climate change, increased famine, and epidemic disease.

Ehrlich has been frequently criticized for venturing into professional fields other than that of his background training, and his research findings have been hotly contested by his professional peers on numerous occasions. But his conclusions have been confirmed through experience until they have become part of mainstream scientific thinking. For instance, The Population Bomb was roundly criticized at the U.N. population conference in Bucharest in 1974, but its  message was broadly accepted at the next population conference in Mexico City 10 years later.

Paul Ehrich Blogg: