Planet Pioneer

Professor Garrett Hardin (b. 1915), pioneer in the life sciences later consolidated as ecology, taught biology at UCSB, not environmental studies, and it was as a biologist that before Roe vs. Wade, Dr. Hardin challenged academic taboos by publicly arguing for a woman’s right to abortion.

A young microbiologist researching algae as a food source to alleviate world hunger, he had left the Carnegie Institute to focus on teaching. He came to realize that merely technical solutions to such problems would fail if human beings, regardless of creed, color, or nationality, did not learn to limit their own numbers.

It was as a teacher that he wrote his first book, the popular undergraduate text Biology: Its Human Implications (1949) whose title succinctly characterizes the life’s work of a scientist who ventured out of the laboratory not to maximize the quantity, but to optimize the quality of life on this planet.

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