ecologist who warned of the dangers of overpopulation and whose concept of the tragedy of the commons brought attention to "the damage that innocent actions by individuals can inflict on the environment". He was most well known for his elaboration of this theme in his 1968 paper, The Tragedy of the Commons
. He is also known for Hardin's First Law of Ecology, which states "You cannot do only one thing", and used the familiar phrase "Nice guys finish last" to sum up the "selfish gene
" concept of life and evolution.
Hardin received a B.S.
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. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.
Our desire to conserve wildlife for our children and our children's children forces us to bring out into the open conservation's secret question : Does God give a prize for the maximum number of human beings? Put another way, which shall we bequeath to our grandchildren : human life with nature, or human life without nature?
The overall system of a sizeable community struggling to survive in a crowded world may be either socialism|socialism or privatism|privatism. Either system may work, more or less. But, except in non-critical areas of distribution, commonism cannot possibly work for very long.
Many of the environmentalists who moved into the environmental movement after Silent Spring|Silent Spring ... detested pollution and craved purity. Absolute purity. They wanted to enforce zero tolerance on all environmental pollutants, not just on carcinogens. With friends like these the environment needs no enemies.
A coldly rationalist individualist can deny that he has any obligation to make sacrifices for the future. By contrast, those who, for whatever reason, regard the resources at their disposal as an inheritance from the past that they feel obliged to pass on to their descendants, have a better chance of producing future generations prosperous enough to be able to continue to wrestle with the problems of increasing the quality of life.
Continuity is at the heart of conservatism : ecology serves that heart.