Integrating Ecology and Poverty Reduction

pp 61-63


Introduction: Population, Poverty, and Ecology

  • Alex de SherbininAffiliated withCenter for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), The Earth Institute at Columbia University Email author 

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


This section includes chapters addressing population growth, migration, and ­urbanization as they relate to the ecology–poverty nexus. The work in the field of population–environment studies has been the province of demographers, geographers, sociologists, economists, and, perhaps pre-eminently, ecologists, through the seminal works of Duncan (1964), Hardin (1968), and Ehrlich and Holdren (1971). In the ecological contributions to this literature, population size, density, growth, and re-distribution (in the form of urbanization) are often presented as primary drivers of environmental problems, and the solution proposed is to reduce or reverse growth rates, or to set aside ecologically sensitive areas in parks. In the extreme, Garrett Hardin (1974a, b) proposed that poverty be allowed to run its course, unfettered by foreign aid, so that rapidly growing developing countries would better experience the “positive checks” on population growth of famine, misery, plague, and war postulated by Malthus 200 years ago. This he termed “life boat ethics.”