Garrett Hardin Quotes

Garrett James Hardin (April 21, 1915 – September 14, 2003) was an American ecologist and philosopher who warned of the dangers of overpopulation. His exposition of the tragedy of the commons, in a famous 1968 paper in Science, called attention to "the damage that innocent actions by individuals can inflict on the environment". He is also known for Hardin's First Law of Human Ecology: "We can never do merely one thing. Any intrusion into nature has numerous effects, many of which are unpredictable."

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Garrett Hardin


Moreover, the practical recommendations deduced from ecological principles threaten the vested interests of commerce; it is hardly surprising that the financial and political power created by these investments should be used sometimes to suppress environmental impact studies.

Garrett Hardin


Fundamentalists are panicked by the apparent disintegration of the family, the disappearance of certainty and the decay of morality. Fear leads them to ask, if we cannot trust the Bible, what can we trust?

Garrett Hardin


But it is no good using the tongs of reason to pull the Fundamentalists' chestnuts out of the fire of contradiction. Their real troubles lie elsewhere.

Garrett Hardin


Education can counteract the natural tendency to do the wrong thing, but the inexorable succession of generations requires that the basis for this knowledge be constantly refreshed.

Garrett Hardin


The three filters [against folly] operate through these particular questions: Literacy: What are the words? Numeracy: What are the numbers? Ecolacy: And then what?

Garrett Hardin


To say that we mutually agree to coercion is not to say that we are required to enjoy it, or even to pretend we enjoy it.

Garrett Hardin


Numeracy: 1. The art of putting numbers to things, that is, assigning amounts to variables in order that practical decisions may be reach. 2. That aspect of education (beyond mere literacy) which takes account of quantitative aspects of reality.

Garrett Hardin


Continuity is at the heart of conservatism: ecology serves that heart.

Garrett Hardin


The rational man finds that his share of the cost of the wastes he discharges into the commons is less than the cost of purifying his wastes before releasing them.

Garrett Hardin


In a finite world this means that the per capita share of the world's goods must steadily decrease.

Garrett Hardin


However, I think the major opposition to ecology has deeper roots than mere economics; ecology threatens widely held values so fundamental that they must be called religious.

Garrett Hardin


Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.

Garrett Hardin


It is a mistake to think that we can control the breeding of mankind in the long run by an appeal to conscience.

Garrett Hardin


It takes five years for a willing person's mind to change. Have patience with yourself and others when treading in an area protected by a taboo.

Garrett Hardin


Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons.

Garrett Hardin