“The battle to feed all of humanity is over.” -Paul R. Ehrilich


Pictured Above: OLLI Students, Drake Airfield, Fayetteville, AR
By: Shelby Dye, March 2018

Author of the 1968 book, “The population bomb,” Paul R. Ehrlich famously said, “The battle to feed all humanity is over.” This gloomy phrase seems to encapsulate the sentiment of the 1960s in terms of the race for societal acclimation to a booming population. “As we begin to move forward, we’d better remember that hindsight is 20-20,” OLLI instructor Ken Allen warned, as he reflected on the “population time bomb” phenomenon, and recounted the 1960s fears of overpopulation.

Allen explained to OLLI students in his course “The Population Predicaments,” the technicalities and history of an increasing global population. Students were privy to agricultural trends, as well as trends in infrastructure, like The Green Revolution. Allen also provided students with a list of several noteworthy publications for perspective.

After sharing the prologue of Ehrlich’s “The population bomb” with students, Allen explained that “The social mindset of the time [The 1960s] was, “We can buy some time but it’s still going to be terrible.”” Students had the opportunity to discuss social issues like the “zero-population growth” movement, The Green Revolution, Genetically Modified Organisms, and more.

Population Predicaments was a two part lecture series that concluded Tuesday, March 13. Allen wrapped up the course by giving key insight into historical and global population trends to offer context in understanding current population growth on international, national and local levels.