LE 20H: [broadcast of March 26, 2022]
TF1 News (Private - August 1982 ->)
Sen. Sam Brownback on Sen. Joseph Lieberman
[Sen. Sam Brownback on Sen. Joseph Lieberman] [KANSAS] Republican Senator Sam Brownback speaks about the selection of Senator Joseph (Joe) Lieberman as Al Gore's Vice President. 175253 rerack 175356 cu cutaway - still shot 175536 ms brownback talks: all things gore been attacking on .. bush people have to use lieberman's words to attack him .. push in and out then push in 175602 ms brownback 175621 that's what's interesting about the pick it makes al gore the odd man out on issues like social security partial privatization of that .. issues like school choice on cultural issues 175634 he and i worked together alot on violence and sexual content in media.. he's going to be agreeing with dick cheney and governor bush (when gore attacks) 175709 message we've been putting forward is culture children raised in so poisonous .. so much violence and vulgarity hurting our children .. AMA and american psychological association .. all signed document that this level of violence harmful to children .. poisoning our children (listens to off camera questioner) 175747 he (lieberman) and i held hearing together .. 1997 .. violence .. music lyrics .. many suicidal .. treated women as objects .. sexualized violence .. went forward on motion picture association .. television .. video games .. cannot expect children to be raised on violence and then love peace 175825 cultural ecosphere deadly to all of us 175840 oh yes joe and i worked hand in hand .. bill bennett one of key persons .. he (lieberman) and i worked as well with bill this cultural ecosphere harmful to children and got to be changed .. get some of violence out .. tar and nicotine to attract and keep people .. got to get away from that hurting us 175920 it'll be much more difficult .. so much of financial backing for gore comes from hollywood makes difficult .. point comes back to is joe lieberman a good man but makes al gore odd man out in presidential race 175942 al gore one who disagrees with other three at top of ticket.. (lady talks off camera) 180040 black 180048 hash
[Counting fauna and flora: they help naturalists]
TF1 News (Private - August 1982 ->)
Earth 2100 Interview Jim Woolsey HD
ABC NEWS "20/20" Topic: Earth 2100 Date: May 8, 2008 Tape Number: 43 NARRATION 06:00:09 How much of a moral question is that? Because it seems that the generation of uh, I guess you're not a baby boomer, really? JIM WOOLSEY 06:00:16 Just a couple of three years sort of a being a boomer. NARRATION 06:00:20 But basically there's a whole generation that basically consumed, I mean, sort of caused a huge amount of this problem. JIM WOOLSEY 06:00:27 Yeah. NARRATION 06:00:29 (Inaudible) about to ask this society to spend a lot of its resources taking care of us as we age. JIM WOOLSEY 06:00:35 Well, it's more on that sense but, I mean, the main thing, those of my age ought to worry about is our grandchildren. I mean, it uh, sometimes people use a very high discount rate in figuring out what they ought to invest in with respect to climate change and so forth. And if you use a very high discount rate, you're basically saying you don't care about 06:01:01 your grandchildren. Uh, we really need to uh, uh, look at the society and earth as a whole and all the species and us particularly uh, and sort out what we need to do in order to uh, in order to fix the problem. 06:01:16 We can't leave a steady sea level rise to future generations. It would be just hideous and it's not been all our fault. It's been built up since around 1800, but much of it has been in the west, of course, and a lot of it here from Europe because we 06:01:17 put a lot of ... of uh, we burned a lot of coal and oil and natural gas to some extent. And it uh ... it's something we have to take responsibility for and deal with uh, regardless of whether we're doing it for religious reasons or ... or climate change reasons or counter terrorist reasons or whatever. QUESTION 06:01:54 You have very clearly laid out why this does not have to happen to us. In other words, the kind of steps, I mean, I hear everything you say. My one question for you is; if all these (Inaudible) are right and we really have only about ten years to really seriously turn things around, uh, and if you look at the rate of economic develop in China and India and generally a lot needs to change. I mean, not what you hope is going to happen or ... I mean, what is your feeling ... what do you actually think? In other 06:02:31 words don't - or do you fear that we're not going to act in time? JIM WOOLSEY 06:02:33 Uh, it's possible and we need to learn very quickly how to make a carbon capping trade regime work. Because the Europeans had one in for a couple of years they claimed it was just for learning purposes, but since they gave away so many credits uh, carbon dioxide was valued less than one Euro, it was completely worthless. And indeed we've done better in the (Laughs) last five or six years with 06:02:50 CO2 emissions than they have uh, collectively. Partially because they've screwed up uh, the way they did their carbon capping trade system. If we have one uh, and I think we will, we need to auction the vast majority of the credits rather than just giving them away. 06:03:10 Uh, we need, I think for ... for a fair amount of the industries that are affected, we need to be upstream uh, rather than downstream. That is we need to uh, uh, require limitations on uh, carbon emissions where uh, at the coal mine level and ... and so on. 06:03:32 It will be simpler to administer than trying to do something at every facility. But things like that we can do to make it more efficient. And I think probably before too long we can move into having it be international with countries where there's a rule of law. 06:03:46 Because if you go to offsets, if somebody says I'm gonna plant trees in India uh, and so I get credits, please send money. You need to be able to verify that the trees are planted and they're not chopped down after, you know, a certain number of years and we can do that, monitor that sort of thing from outside, maybe even from space reasonably well. 06:04:12 But if you have offsets that are designed to deal with the difference between what people say they'll do and what they'll do, you could have some very severe enforcement problems. I mean if you take the communist party boss of the Sachewan(?) province and he says; well, over the next five years I was gonna build ten coal fired power plants. Now 06:04:36 I'll only build nine, please send money. Uh, you know, the system is gonna get pretty cynical pretty quickly that ... that ... that that is working. So one has to move as quickly as we can to make the carbon capping system work. Make it work here, make it work in countries where there's a rule of law. Try to bring about reasonable enforcement mechanisms and monitoring mechanisms in countries where there's not a rule of law. 06:04:59 And uh, and move out smartly. I think if we move out smartly and decisively on carbon capping trade, we'll put a rather substantial incentive in this system to move towards the renewable. And I tend to think distributed solar is coming along very 06:05:11 fast as is battery storage. We are - if ... if you try to store a kilowatt uh, hour of energy with uh, lead acid batteries, it will cost you a dollar or two. 06:05:34 If you try to do it with uh ... with uh, compressed air, it's a lot better, I mean, by nine or ten cents. But there are flow batteries coming along that will only add one or two cents per kilowatt hour to the cost of generating. So if you can generate from your roof with uh, uh, a uh, filament taped(?) cells at uh, cost of uh ... 15 to 20 cents per kilowatt hour and costs another one or two to store it, you're up about double the ... the cost of electricity right now coming uh, from - in much of the country - from power plants. 06:06:17 But, on the other hand, uh, uh, coal is getting more expensive. It's dirty. Uh, uh ... natural gas is getting more expensive. And I think it won't just be in California before long, it will be in much of the rest of the country where we will have filament tanks(?) and batteries together at or close to parity 06:06:41 with the grid. Once you have that and people see they can make money ... they can save money for 06:06:50 their home or they can make money for the shopping center that they uh, uh, became the landlord for, by moving toward distributed generation, that's going to be clean. Because you can't put a coal fired power plant on your roof. QUESTION 06:07:03 Okay. Ten years, so okay .. do you think that, you know, because when I'm listening to you, I'm thinking to myself; you know, wouldn't it be a tragedy ... if all of this stuff happened ... JIM WOOLSEY 06:07:17 Too late. QUESTION Too late. Yeah, and it just seems to me ... I mean, (Inaudible) not bytes(?), but it's entire possible that all of this going to happen too late. JIM WOOLSEY 06:07:32 It could. Um ... we have to ... get going. Uh, uh - even if we have one ... terrible feedback loop, let's say the west Antarctic ice shelf(?) uh, we might be 06:07:54 able to move in time to keep most of Greenland and the east Antarctic ice shelf from melting. Several meters of sea level rise is awful, but ten, twenty plus meters of sea level rise ends life as we know it. 06:08:11 So the only message, I think here, is get going. Get going. QUESTION 06:08:19 Now, we talked to Dan (Inaudible) at Harvard, he's a Harvard Fellow, a big climate change guy. And he's like; listen, what we know and basically we'll know, probably, you know, somewhere between, you know, three or four - (Inaudible) positive. Okay, let's say, this is one of (Inaudible), okay? Those ice sheets are going to melt(?). And within three or four years they're going to be in and we're going to see three or five meters. Something will happen and we know it's going to happen. He goes; somebody is going to put a rocket in the 06:08:50 atmosphere with sulfur(?). That's going to happen. JIM WOOLSEY 06:08:52 Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's the ... I mean, there are obvious problems to this geo engineering business of ... of ... of, you know, creating the function equivalent of the eruption of Mt. Penatubo(?) and blocking the sun and so forth. Uh, and there's this obvious question of who decides? Uh, uh, and that, of course, creates subsequent problems uh, of all sorts of the eco-sphere. 06:09:21 Uh, it would be terrible if in some years when we're faced with that kind of a choice, it's worth, I guess, at least doing a research on these various geo engineering things to see what would be the least disruptive and the most reversible and so forth if it 06:09:39 came to that. But if the world were faced with a choice of ten, twenty meters of sea level rise versus some of these steps, it at least ought to be considered uh, seriously. Uh, even though some of the things I heard about most of them are really very uh, very troubling. QUESTION 06:09:54 And, you know, doesn't it just come down to - I asked already this question - okay, we know what got us in this trouble in the first place, which is technology. And then those who ... JIM WOOLSEY 06:10:04 IN a sense. QUESTION 06:10:06 Yeah, but ... but, I mean, you know, the notion that somehow, you know, we can finally, this is the time when it's going to be major, because we're going to be major about basically creating a global weather system. Consciously it's supposed to be (Inaudible). That's just seems to be sort of like, just sort of humorous. JIM WOOLSEY 06:10:24 Well, we've tried different ways of beating nature. The first way that was relevant here is we started burning a lot of coal and then later oil. Uh, and that 06:10:17 produced some benefits. You know, wealth and a lot of - the electric grid and so forth. But it also produced, we now understand, some very major problems. So what we got to do is be smarter about the way we uh, uh, we ... beat the nature that we have helped created, which is including the climate change. And I think we've also got to be 06:11:05 uh, smart about uh, the way we move out into reducing the bad effects of those natural consequences of using a lot of carbon. 06:11:20 I tend to think that ... that ... that we can do this. Uh, we just have to pursue ourselves to stop ... messing around. Stop having the government pick single solutions because with (clears throat) Sinfield's(?) corporation in the hydrogen highway for family cars, it didn't do a very good job of picking solutions. And instead move decisively toward general encouragement of the kinds of technologies we want such as having a carbon capping trading 06:11:56 system. Such as opening up oil up to competition by letting other fuels uh, be able to be used in vehicles. We just need to move out of those promptly and do the best we can. There aren't really any other alternatives. (OFF-MIKE) QUESTION 06:12:13 What are the things that people say that resources will become scarce (Inaudible) conflicts(?). That, I mean, that um ... as (Inaudible) and his oil (Inaudible), what would you expect conflicts start breaking out ... JIM WOOLSEY 06:12:30 Well uh, technology is part of the answer to that. I mean, that's one reason why the (Inaudible) predictions and the Club(?) of(?) Rome(?) predictions hadn't borne out is because things like uh, uh, the Green Revolution uh, and Norman Bourloug(?) and huge yield improvements and grains and so forth have ... QUESTION 06:12:49 (Inaudible). JIM WOOLSEY 06:12:50 Well, not necessarily. Uh, the ... QUESTION 06:12:52 The Green Revolution was (Inaudible) nitrogen fertilizer which uses a lot of oil. JIM WOOLSEY 06:12:55 Well, a lot of it is, but most of it these days is natural gas which is considerably less climate change gases emitted. QUESTION (Inaudible). JIM WOOLSEY 06:13:04 Well, I'm not sure that's right. Uh, uh, some people uh, Robert Heffner(?) and others uh, think that uh, think that there's a lot of natural gas in shale deposits independent of the gasses associated with oil. And there are new drilling techniques that make it easier to tap into them. One, one, the technology is both the problem and the answer. Uh, we need 06:13:28 to um, uh, I think uh, move out really smartly on clever utilization of the fusion reactor we have very handy 93 millions miles and eight minutes away uh, because it puts about 10,000 times as much energy on the earth every day as we need even if we were very generous with ourselves. And it's pretty clean. 06:13:51 So uh, there are other things we need to do. But we need to move out very, very smartly, I think, on distributed generation of both fuels and electricity. Do it cleanly, give incentives for it to be done generally and let the market sort out what's the best way to do it. QUESTION 06:14:13 And this is my last question for you, which is; what do you want to hear about this (Inaudible) about (Inaudible)? And his view of this is that basically, I mean, civilizations have collapsed in the past, we're really no different. And that, you know, when you look at this, when you read the book, it does 06:14:30 happen to all these other civilizations because they basically used too many resources. They didn't pay attention to what was going on. And from an anthropological and biological perspective, the (Inaudible), the extinction, you know, the rapid drop in our population is something that is a realistic and that's the way we should be thinking about it. JIM WOOLSEY 06:14:52 Sure. QUESTION 06:14:54 I mean, what do you think? JIM WOOLSEY 06:14:56 I think when the Romans had a General who had won a major campaign and returned for his triumph through Rome. And all the people were cheering and the ancient Roman equivalent of confetti was being tossed and trumpets were sounding. The Romans always had a slave standing next to him in the chariot whispering in his ear, you know, this too 06:15:19 may pass. Civilizations have collapsed. Ours may as well. It's good, not to have to say it, but it's good to have someone always pointing that out because we don't have any divine right to keep this wonderful society we've got going. We've got an opportunity, but not a right. And if we uh, uh, 06:15:42 don't pay attention to things both like climate change and the possibility of malevolent interference with our energy systems and the rest, we uh, could lose a very great deal. QUESTION 06:15:39 Thank you very much. JIM WOOLSEY Thank you. (END OF TAPE)
Garbage trucks coming and going in Hong Kong landfill with horizon of
Hosiho
Earth 2100 Interview Paul Ehrlich HD
ABC NEWS "20/20" Interview: Paul Ehrlich Producer: Michael Bicks Tape Number: 57 PAUL EHRLICH 09:00:36 (In Progress) ... the TV industry, and we come to the same conclusions. NARRATION 09:00:40 Now one of the interesting things is, I mean obviously, I mean the resources we have to deal with all of our problems are very limited. (Inaudible) And you're probably actually too old to worry about this, because um, but I think (Inaudible) I'm at one end of the baby boom. And obviously, I mean the care and feeding with me as I get older is going to 09:00:53 take a tremendous amount of society's resources. I mean not just me. (OVERLAPPING VOICES) NARRATION 09:01:03 All of us. And, we're all saying at the same time we're going to be asking the folks who are paying for it to deal with the huge mess that is sort of created by our profligacy. You would think that they're going to basically push us out the door. 09:01:20 You know, you would think that there's going to be some kind of new generational troubles, because, I mean, you know, we're responsible for the mess. And then we're sort of going to be screaming, take care of us. And by the way, deal with the mess that we created. PAUL EHRLICH 09:01:31 Well there ... there is all kinds of talk about ... (OFF MIKE) PAUL EHRLICH All kinds of talk about ... (OFF MIKE) PAUL EHRLICH 09:01:49 There's all kinds of ... there's all kinds of talk, and there ought to be about, what are the consequences of the change in the age composition in the population. That is, any time a population that's growing starts slowing down, it starts getting older. 09:01:57 That's just arithmetic. There's no way to avoid that. Um, and some people claim, well, the problem is going to be, that there will be so many of us old geezers for the working people to support, that 09:02:11 we're going to be in deep trouble. Well, there are ... that is going to cause problems, but it's not going to cause anything like the problems that would be caused if we didn't stop population from growing. First of all, what's called the dependency ratio is the ratio of people who are over 65, and under 15. Still working. Well the under 15s shrink like hell, while the over 65s expand. 09:02:32 Let me tell you, it is possible for somebody who's 75 to remain productive in society. It's not very easy to get a five year old to be productive in society. Another age class that shrinks is the population ages is the 18 to 30 year olds. The US has a quarter of the people in the world who are criminals in prison. Guess what their average ages are. They're not mostly over 65, or under 15. So, 09:02:57 there's, you know, certain class ... the age structure change is going to have some effects. Uh, I think however that they're going to be really minor, compared to the effect, for instance, in Europe, where the population's actually begun to shrink, which is wonderful, because of course they're super consumers. We ought to be shrinking, too. And 09:03:16 the populations that you want to shrink fastest are the ones that are using the most of the resources. 09:03:24 The other issue, though, is, who made the mess and who's got to clean it up. And that's a sorry thing. 09:03:29 Because we've made the mess, and when I look at my colleagues, kids who are five, ten, fifteen years old, I really feel sorry for them, because they're not only going to have to face, to some degree, supporting us. Or supporting their parents. But they're also going to have to face cleaning up that 09:03:44 mess that their parents have made, just not caring about what happens to the future generation. Remember, when somebody says, but I want to have five children, the issue isn't what you want, it's what's going to happen to those kids. You're not ... kids aren't to satisfy your ego. They're for the next generation, and you ought to want to care for them, and give them a decent life, not just 09:04:02 satisfy your ego by proving that you can have four or five kids. NARRATION 09:04:04 But when you say who ... we caused this mess. I mean, who do you mean now, because that can be taken (Inaudible) PAUL EHRLICH Oh. NARRATION 09:04:09 But I mean specifically, in this example. PAUL EHRLICH 09:04:13 Well if you ask who made the current mess, of course you can go all the way back to Australopithecus, you know, to the ... to the upright, small brained hominids of six million years ago. But, most of the mess has been generated in ... in the last century, and particularly since the second world 09:04:31 war. And a lot of decisions were made then, to put consumerism on top, to encourage population growth without doing anything at all to limit it. In other words we encourage population growth by using medical techniques (Inaudible) to cut the birth ... the death rate down. When we did that, if we'd been sensible, we would have used other techniques to cut the birth rate down. Because you do not want to have a ... an exploding population on a clearly finite planet. We didn't do that. But worse and worse, our generation, and my generation, politically, even when we knew full well what was going on, (Inaudible) the scientific 09:05:08 community has basically known, at least since the 1950s and '60s, that we were on the wrong course. And we haven't changed, having that full knowledge. And that's where I think our guilt comes in. We haven't worked hard enough to care about our kids and grandkids. And about ourselves in the future. I mean I don't like being searched before I get on an airliner. NARRATION 09:05:31 Now, do you really ... I mean, you know, it's funny, because you're making such a persuasive case. It's about why we're basically just flying the plane into 09:05:39 the ground. I mean it sounds like you almost think this is unavoidable. I mean I know intellectually you know it's not. But ... PAUL EHRLICH 09:05:44 I mean (Inaudible) a question often comes up, is this uninvoid ... unavoidable. Do we actually, have we jumped off the top of the Empire State Building as we go past the 14th floor, say, well everything's 09:05:55 great so far. I don't think it's unavoidable. But we're not doing anything to avoid it. In other words, I'm I ... my standard answer is, I'm very pessimistic about what we're going to do, and where we're going to end up. I'm quite optimistic about what we could do, and where we'd end up, if 09:06:10 we got the ... the political will together, to really make it the center of our nation and our world's activities for the next century or two. 09:06:20 If I knew that humanity was going to make the effort to give everyone who is then alive, the best possible life, and to maintain our life support systems, and to decide that when you have 6.7 billion people, at that point you can't afford things 09:06:35 like wars and terrorism anymore. And that we were going to shrink back, gradually and humanely, uh, to a ... by reducing the birth rate a little bit more, to a sustainable size. I think we could do it. But I don't think, I don't see any sign anywhere, that we have the intention of doing it. NARRATION 09:06:57 And, especially when you look at the political debate today, because ... I mean, these guys are not ... I mean even though they talk about (Inaudible) something about climate change. I mean they're not viewing these problem ... (OVERLAPPING VOICES) PAUL EHRLICH 09:07:08 Okay. Current political discussions of things like climate change are just amusing. In other words, the amount of greenhouse gasses is going up continuously, and there's now more talk about what 09:07:20 might be done about it. But we're not making any serious moves. We're not making serious moves. For instance, you know when I would believe that the United States was serious about doing something about its environmental situation, when we adopted a population policy, and when we at least, you know, combined our migration policy arguments about how many people, you know, we 09:07:38 want to have in the country at one time. When we started to reverse the trend of designing the country around the automobile, and began to design it around people. Because, if you came from Mars, and you were a scientist from Mars, and you looked at, say, LA, at six or seven o'clock in the morning, or the Stan ... the San Francisco bay area, or New 09:07:56 York City, you'd think this was a population imbeciles. You know, everybody's roaring around in ... in air pollution, and a couple of tons of steel to each person, that's nutty. We shouldn't live that way. And we should be saying, what are people 09:08:12 for. How do we really want to live. Do you really enjoy driving two hours to work, and two hours back. You know, it ... they're ... when you start talking that way, when people start talking about what we really want. Is the end you know, end all and be all for human beings, for everybody to own 09:08:29 say, even three Priuses. You get the impression from people that if everybody buys a ... a hybrid car, the world will be okay. I'm in favor of hybrid cars, although we've never really looked closely 09:08:37 enough to know if they're actually a benefit. If you count in you know, what you have to with the batteries, and where you got to transport them and all, they may not be any ... they may not be as good as a more standard car that's lighter. NARRATION 09:08:48 But that's the thing is that if we ... I mean ... we were living both a environmentally, and probably an emotionally unsustainable life. In other words ... I mean we're just consuming ... I mean, more and more of our identities come from consuming material products, it seems. And it's not clear we're any happier, or any better off, because ... I mean outside of just better off because of that. So 09:09:15 I mean, this is not only about I mean, we're not talking about a future, if one became more sustainable, that actually sacrifices (Inaudible) PAUL EHRLICH 09:09:24 Interestingly enough, if you look at the data, and the economists have, by the way, of all the increase in GDP, and the United States, and say in Japan, that is in the economic situation, the amount consumed and so on, has not added to satisfaction at all. I think it's actually going in the opposite 09:09:38 direction. And I can ... I can say that from personal experience. Because, Anne and I got married uh, now 53 years ago. And we were poor as church mice. I was a graduate student, she was an undergraduate student, and yet she would, doing a little bit of work on the side, was able to stay home with our daughter, till she was five years old. None of the young couples I know today are able to do 09:10:02 that. Everybody's working their butts off. In order to stay afloat. That ... I don't see that as an improvement. I think our life back then, even though we didn't have the material goods at the level that a couple may have today, at least we had one person able to stay home, and raise the kid. 09:10:19 Which I think is really important. (OFF MIKE) NARRATION 09:10:25 I'm going to just take you through the next century. Century. First of all, like, sort of (Inaudible) you know, on the business as usual path, and then I'm going to ask you to go back, on sort of, the kinds of choices we'd have to make to have a different world. So 2015, if we stay on the path you see us on, what does the world look like in 2015. PAUL EHRLICH 09:10:42 Well I think if we stay on the path we're on now, the world in 2015 will be at least ... (OFF MIKE) PAUL EHRLICH 09:10:49 I think if we stay on the path we're on now, the world of 2015 will, at least have people understanding that the collapse is beginning. In other words, we're going to see, I suspect, although climate change is ... is a very complex subject. And it fluctuates all over the place. And we might see no significant changes between now and 2015. But my bet would be that we're going to see more and more of the sorts of climate change, the droughts, the big storms and so on, that are predicted, and 09:11:21 that's going to make people extremely nervous. I think food prices will not come rapidly back down. I think we will still be involved in ... on business as usual. We'll still be involved in a struggle to keep 09:11:31 some kind of control over Middle East oil. Right now, about half of our military expenditures are in ... in solely, to keep us supplied, to be able to grab other people's oil, if we need it. If you, by the way, took that externality, that ... that extra cost, and put it into gasoline prices, that alone would raise our per gallon rate, something like 80 ... eight ... 80 cents a gallon. Gasoline is going to continue to go up. We will probably be moving to more fuel efficient cars, because most people won't be able to 09:12:05 afford it. The economy is going to be really ... I ... I would suspect, will be really in the doldrums. We probably won't have another big boom, but you never can tell. 09:12:09 So, 2015's pretty close in. It also could be in total ruins by then. Because we may have found, for instance, if Al Quada gets its hand on one of the loose nuclear weapons probably floating around the world, um, and sets it off in New York or Washington or 09:12:39 London, the entire world would be changed. We're so intertwined, economically and so on, we'd probably have a world depression, with many people dying of starvation, and of disease, because they won't have the money to get ... to get the drugs they need, and so on. So, it ... it won't be a pleasant picture, I suspect. I may be wrong. NARRATION 09:12:47 In 2050, what do you say. PAUL EHRLICH 09:12:50 In 2050 I'd say the world would be unrecognizable from today. If it's business as usual, unrecognizable in a horrendous direction. Just think back to ... we're talking about 1958 to today. To me the world is almost unrecognizable today from what it was in 1958. NARRATION 09:13:07 Well 1968 till today. PAUL EHRLICH Sixty eight till today is 40 years. (OFF MIKE) PAUL EHRLICH 09:13:21 If you back to ... if you go back to the time of the Vietnam war, the world has changed incredibly since then. Our concerns are very different. The super powers' configuration that we had that sort of set the tone for much of the end of the 20th century. Russia is coming back as a super power, but in a different configuration. Because ... why is Russia getting so much more powerful? Because they have huge energy surprise ... supplies still, and that gives them gigantic leverage over Europe, and 09:13:46 so on. More and more resources are going to be at the center of things. The probabilities between now and 2050, if we stay business as usual, of more resource wars is essentially inevitable. The so 09:13:57 many river basins, for instance, are shared by more than one country, that are growing and poor, and short of water already. So it's not hard to see the direction we're going. Twenty fifty, I really have trouble predicting, but I'd be really surprised if Americans could live anything like the life they live on average today. NARRATION 09:14:18 And states will start to fail. PAUL EHRLICH 09:14:20 Well we already have failing states around the world. I mean some places are called states, but they're not really. It's particularly sad, in sub Saharan Africa. But it's not unknown elsewhere. I mean ... (OVERLAPPING VOICES) NARRATION (Inaudible) PAUL EHRLICH 09:14:33 One of the things that scientists worry about is, for instance, India and China are now in very interesting positions. Each one basically as a filthy rich country, and a big one. Several hundred million people. Buried inside a gigantic poor country. And 09:14:47 some people think China will fractionate between a coastal rich country, and an inland poor country. 09:14:54 And that India might go the same sort of direction. But again, both those countries are nuclearly armed. 09:14:58 Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Uh, the ... I don't think most Americans realize that the US and Russia still have thousands of nuclear weapons targeted on each other, on a hair trigger alert. It's absolutely nuts. I mean, again, the Martian scientists coming here would not be able to imagine what people are thinking of. NARRATION All right, 2100. PAUL EHRLICH 09:15:23 Too far out for reasonable prediction. But I ... by 2100, we'll either be down the drain, or on the road to a sustainable society. If I had to put my money on it, I'd put it on down the drain, but I'd hate to do it. I basically ... you know, one of the optimistic things is that societies, for reasons we don't fully understand, can change extremely rapidly, when the time is ripe. For instance, when I was a kid, lynchings were common in the South, in the United States. You could send through the US mail a picture of a ... a child watching a burning body. 09:15:59 Second world war basically took all that away. We ... we haven't gone where I would like to see us go in race relations, but we ... they sure changed fast, and in a few decades. Same thing on the, on ... if you were a woman in 1938, what were your 09:16:11 choices of a job? You could be a nurse, you could be school teacher. A couple ... a secretary. That was about it. Now, women are flying jet airliners for ... so, things can change. And the one, the most recent one, is none ... none of my politically sophisticated friends expected the Soviet Union to collapse when it collapsed. 09:16:30 But the time was ripe, and it went. So, one can hope that sometime in the next year, even, that suddenly society will realize that it's on a doomsday path, and change very rapidly. In which case, by 2100, we could have ... we could be well on our way to a sustainable world, where virtually everybody's leading a decent life. NARRATION 09:16:51 Now ... okay, let's go through that one. Okay let's say, people woke up, tomorrow. You know, (Inaudible) (OVERLAPPING VOICES) PAUL EHRLICH 09:16:55 Well ... NARRATION 09:16:55 But let's say there was just something that catalyzed people, and they woke up tomorrow. What would 2015 look like? PAUL EHRLICH Well it ... what would 2015 look like? It would (OVERLAPPING VOICES) NARRATION 09:17:05 (Inaudible Portion) PAUL EHRLICH Okay. NARRATION You know like what would you (Inaudible) PAUL EHRLICH 09:17:09 If we ... if we went, again, if we imagine we're going on a path towards sustainability, then in 2015 it would be an extremely politically and intellectually active period, where people would be debating what direction do we want to go. We know basically that we want to be able to sustain our civilization for, maybe even a million years. What do we need to 09:17:30 do it. How do we do it. What's the most equitable way to do it. How do we solve our prob ... our religious differences, and so on. We're a small group animal. We've always been. Genetically and culturally a small group animal. Now we're trying to live by the billions. How do we manage that without killing each other, and without ruining our life support systems. So I would imagine if we had that kind of transition, by 2015, universities would be very different. Instead of being followers, in ... in what's going on in the world, they'd be leaders. 09:17:57 We'd be pushing, we'd be changing our education systems. We'd be taking advantage of our minorities, because we waste brain power, still in women, around the world in many places, and also in people with different skin colors, and so on. So it 09:18:14 would be a very exciting time. It would also be a tough time, because we probably would be facing more problems with climate change, and so on. But at least we'd all be getting together to say, okay. 09:18:23 This is happening. What should we do now. How do we deal with it. NARRATION All right. Now, 2050, would the world be more local? I mean, what kind of thing, what would (Inaudible) if we're going down a path towards sustainability. PAUL EHRLICH 09:18:33 If we're going down a path towards sustainability, what happens in 20 50 ... 50, would depend a lot on what decisions humanity made around 2015. If it were my decision, I would try for a better mix of local and global. In other words, I ... I'd hate to see humanity lose its diversity of languages, for 09:18:53 instance. Or its diversity of cultures. At the same time, we have to learn to appreciate other people's attitudes, other people's cultures. We have to value diversity. And we have to face very difficult um, ethical problems. Like to what degree should we interfere with other people's cultural views. In other words, if your culture says, that we have to 09:19:16 kill lots whales, in order to maintain our culture, maybe the rest of the world might say, no, because we like whales too, and you only can kill so many. (OFF MIKE) PAUL EHRLICH 09:20:19 If we went ... if we went down a sustainable path, by 2100, I think we'd be a long way towards there. Not all the way, because the population ... you don't want to have the population drop like a rock. You want to have it gradually go down. And if we're shooting one and a half or two billion, we probably wouldn't be there yet. But we would see a world in which there was much more wilderness, because wilderness would ... we would work at restoring the wilderness. 09:20:42 We would have a much better control of the oceans, because we know now, for instance, that if you protect areas in the ocean from fishing and pollution, and a few other things, like carbon diox ... too much carbon dioxide making it acid, then the oceans will regenerate. 09:20:56 So I ... you know, I could be eating those swordfish steaks, and that big again, instead of swordfish steaks that big, which I can't eat. Um, and I think 09:21:06 people's values could be shifted away, as they have been in other societies in the past (Inaudible) just consuming being the goal. I think that people, for instance, might like to spend more of their time having sex, rather than working two jobs. And uh ... wine can be grown on pebbly soils that aren't 09:21:22 good for much else. And music. And ... as one economist talked about it, it's basically growth in sort of the intellectual and ethical areas, rather than growth in how many gadgets you have. And I think 09:21:37 we could shift in that direction, and people could lead ... I think we don't lead leisurely enough lives. 09:21:40 Our kids don't get to play enough. They're already planning to become little cogs in the money making machine. So I think we could shift in a lot of ways, but of course, that's a personal point of view. That's why I think in the period around you know, 2015 to 2030, we need to have huge ... actually starting as soon as possible, huge public discussions of things 09:22:03 like ethics. Several of my colleagues and I have been trying to organize. We ... we ... there was a big study called the millennium ecosystem assessment. Which evaluated the state of our life support systems. We want to see a millennium assessment of human behavior. In which we discuss the issues that separate us. And where you 09:22:20 have discourse on ... on important topics. I mean, look, it's not impossible. In the United States, in ... in 1787 to nine if I recall, the Federalist and the anti Federalist debate. 09:22:32 That's the kind of debate we need. People don't have to agree, but they ought to know what the issues are, and they ought to debate them, and that is going to shape what kind of things happen in the year uh, 2100. And as ... as I would say at an optimum population ... everybody doesn't have to agree. Some people could be ... if you had the right 09:22:51 situation, lots of wilderness, some people could be living as hermits. Some people might never see a wild anything, and just stay in the city and eat in good restaurants. It just depends. (OFF MIKE) NARRATION 09:23:02 Now the other thing, though, is ... I mean, odds are our population is going to drop one way or the other. In other words, I mean, either we can decide to sort of reduce it intelligently. Or ... I mean some thing is just going to knock it back. PAUL EHRLICH 09:23:15 Well, as many people have pointed out, there's no question at all that the population explosion will end. The only question is, how much of the end will be because we've controlled our births, or how much of the end will be because the death rate has increased. As one person put it, you know, humanity is hitting nature hard. And it's the top of 09:23:37 the ninth inning. But we should always want to remember is, nature bats last. NARRATION 09:23:45 Okay. What ... you know ... (OFF MIKE) NARRATION 09:23:47 I mean why in the world should people care about biodiversity. And like who cares about snail darters. (Inaudible) Like uh, spotted owl. What ... what difference does it make? PAUL EHRLICH It's often ... (OFF MIKE) PAUL EHRLICH 09:23:58 It's often ... (OFF MIKE) PAUL EHRLICH 09:24:02 It's often asked why should anybody care about biodiversity. Who gives a damn about a spotted owl, or a snail darter. Well of course, the spotted owl and the snail darter are symbols. We ... what 09:24:12 we know for sure is that we cannot live without the other organisms of the planet. They run our life support systems. To give you just two examples, uh, without pollinators, our diets would go way way down, and the economy would hit a ... I think it's the usual calculation is 18 or 20 billion dollar hit on the economy. But worse than that, if we didn't 09:24:31 have wild predators on the pests that attack our crops, we wouldn't eat. In other words we absolutely require natural control of the pests of our crops. If we didn't have organisms in the soil that maintain the quality of the atmosphere, and that recycle our nutrients and so on, we'd all just die. 09:24:53 So we absolutely have to have biodiversity. And when we look at the polar bears, or the ... or the spotted owl or something, nobody says, if all the spotted owls disappeared, humanity will go down the drain. But we can't answer that question for 09:25:07 most organisms. We don't know enough about the connections. So, yeah, we've got to care about biodiversity, because they're the working parts of our life support systems. If you hear a politician say, we've got to concentrate on the economy, and not the ecology, you know you're listening to an imbecile. Because the economy is a wholly owned 09:25:26 subsidiary of the ecological systems of the planet. Without it, we'd have no economy at all. NARRATION 09:25:30 Okay, but ... (Inaudible) what ... what will happen to the checker spot butterfly? This is a question I'm being asked. (LAUGHTER) PAUL EHRLICH 09:25:39 (Inaudible) we'll have the checker spot butterfly. (OFF MIKE) PAUL EHRLICH 09:25:46 Our group has been studying an experimental system, which involves a butterfly that eats plants. And our biggest competitors, of course for food, are insects like the checker spot butterfly, that eat plants. Uh, what's happened to the checker spot butterfly so far is the populations we've been 09:26:03 watching have been disappearing. Going extinct. Uh, for numerous reasons. One is some of them get paved over. The ones right on Stanford campus went extinct because the climate is changing. And it's basically a system that tells us that if we 09:26:16 change things in various ways, we lose biodiversity. Doesn't mean that if you wiped out the checker spot butterfly, humanity would suffer, except for a few people who like beauty. But what it does mean is, it's not just the checker spot butterfly. It's all the organisms that we're attacking, that we depend on for the system to work right. (LONG PAUSE) NARRATION 09:26:39 Now how does an ecosystem collapse? PAUL EHRLICH 09:26:44 You ask ... people might ask how does an ecosystem and what you do to it. What we would normally consider to be a collapse, is a loss of the ecosystem services which we value. What would that be, for instance. Well one way an ecosystem is if you're in Costa Rica, and you deforest a ... a watershed, you suddenly find that the downstream ability of the dams to produce hydroelectric power 09:27:15 disappears, because the silt rushes into the dams, and instead of having a lake, you have a waterfall. 09:27:20 Another way that an ecosystem collapses if you over graze an area. Most of the US was over grazed in the ... in the 19th century. And so it lost its ability to support cattle. And people. And so on, in lots of areas. So, collapse depends on what you're looking at. We've had fisheries collapses all over the oceans. You can't get the fish you want, because the system ... it's not just the fish dying out, but for instance we do a 09:27:43 lot of ... of our fishing by dragging huge trawls, the size of railroad cars across the bottom, which not 09:27:51 only gets the fish, but it destroys the infrastructure that allows the fish to exist. Or we take coastal wetlands, and pave them over, and put condominiums on them. But those coastal wetlands are the place where the baby fish live, and without baby fish, curiously enough, you don't get the big fish to eat. 09:28:09 So ecosystem collapse is something that has happened all over the planet. Is still happening more and more frequently, and it depends on what the ecosystem is. 09:28:19 And your view of it depends on which ecosystem are you dependent upon. NARRATION 09:28:25 Now is it a mistake to think of the globe as an ... in other words, to ... to sort of to use that model of collapse to look at the globe (Inaudible) PAUL EHRLICH 09:28:34 Well if you ask about a global collapse, again, I think the issue is, there's no chance at all of us destroying the earth. People often say, well, the planet is doomed. What we really mean is, of course, our kind of civilization on the planet may be doomed. Even with the nuclear winter scenarios, it seemed unlikely that all human beings would die 09:28:55 out, but not impossible. It depends on how many weapons you use, and how much you modify the atmosphere, and so on. So, one can certainly reasonably think of the so called ecosphere as a giant ecosystem. What is an ecosystem anyway? It's the organisms of an area. And the physical parts of the environment that interact with them. 09:29:14 So if you define the area as the part of earth that can support life, it's an ecosystem. Same way you can define your aquarium as an ecosystem. There's 09:29:22 the fishes, there's the plants, there's the water, and they interact with each other. And all of them have to be open. That is, if you don't put food into the aquarium, and light for the plants, the aquarium goes down. If you, for instance somehow shut off the sun, then the earth ... because we have that 09:29:39 steady flow of energy into the system, to keep it going. So, the global ecosystem could collapse to the degree that human civilization couldn't persist. 09:29:47 But until the sun expands enough to heat us up beyond the point where life can exist on the planet, we'll all ... we'll have some kind of ecosystem, but it might be an ocean full of jellyfish. And a land surface full of weedy plants and cockroaches. And that, you know, might not be too desirable from the point of view of humanity. (OFF MIKE) (END OF TAPE)
Orange boats sailing on the Trans-Boundary River of the Ganges located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Hosiho
Ecological corridors of the Isère
FR3 / France 3
Ecological corridors of the Isère
FR3 / France 3
Around noon: Thursday 20 October 1994
Midi Atlantique
[animal professions]
FR3 / France 3