Rebroadcast: Paul Ehrlich and The Population Bomb

This week we revisit our interview with Paul Ehrlich. Ehrlich rose to notoriety in the 1960s following the publication of his bestselling book “The Population Bomb.” In the book, he foresaw a world characterized by widespread famine and societal collapse driven by overpopulation. In the years since, Ehrlich has received considerable criticism for his predictions. In this quintessential Gen Anthro conversation, our former student Jenny Rempel challenges Ehrlich about his past predictions and how his views have evolved.

THIS EPISODE WAS PRODUCED BY LESLIE CHANG, MIKE OSBORNE, AND MILES TRAER.

Early Humans and Megafauna

The Anthropocene is characterized by exponential global change driven by human activity. But humans have been impacting the planet since the very earliest days when we first appeared on the evolutionary tree. In fact, one of the longest running debates in paleontology centers on homo sapiens’ role in wiping out North America’s enormous land animals, known as megafauna. In this interview with paleontologist Liz Hadly, we talk about what life looked like in the Pleistocene, the pattern of human dispersal around the globe, and new scientific techniques that allow us to understand how ecosystems respond to perturbations, like the arrival of early humans.
 

THIS EPISODE WAS PRODUCED BY LESLIE CHANG, MIKE OSBORNE, AND MILES TRAER.

The Ecosystem Within

The microbiome is the term doctors use to describe the countless organisms each one of us carries in and on our bodies. In the last few years there’s been an explosion of research around how the gut microbiome is linked with our health. As Microbiologist Justin Sonnenburg tells producer Anna Lee, our microbiomes are like the control center of our bodies, affecting cognition, digestion, mood, and overall wellbeing. It turns out that that much of the current research into our gut microbiomes is best examined through the prism of environmental sciences. The challenges we face in the Anthropocene are the same challenges faced by the ecosystems we carry within.

Image by Nicola Fawcett
Licensed under Creative Commons: Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

THIS EPISODE WAS PRODUCED BY LESLIE CHANG, MIKE OSBORNE, AND MILES TRAER.

The Soundtracker

Image adapted from Randy Storey

Listen up, because you never know when a sound will change your life.  Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton tells us the story of how he became “The Soundtracker,” an unorthodox career choice that has led him around the planet three times in pursuit of the last pristine soundscapes. Journey along with Hempton from tropical jungles to the frozen North as he records the music from the solar-powered jukebox that is Earth.

This episode was produced by Leslie Chang, Mike Osborne, and Miles Traer.
Additional music by Kevin MacLeod (License available here)