Ehrlich and Simon: Gambling on the Environment

Oct 7, 2013

Biologist Paul Ehrlich became famous in the 1970s with his book The Population Bomb, which outlined a doomsday scenario in which the world’s supply of food and resources couldn't keep up with overpopulation.

Ehrlich became a regular on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson, and his ideas became influential, but they rankled Julian Simon. He was a lesser known economist during the rise of the environmental movement, and he wanted to challenge Ehrlich with a bet - That bet is the focus of Yale history professor Paul Sabin’s new book The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth’s Future.

Sabin joins us to talk Ehrlich, Simon, and the story of the bet, giving us some insight into the battle over environmental issues like climate change that we’re having today.


  • Paul Sabin, Associate Professor of History at Yale University, founding director of the Environmental Leadership Program, author of THE BET: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth's Future.