The Garrett Hardin Society

Updated 1 December, 2003

Garrett James Hardin
Curriculum Vitae

1915 - 2003


1936 University of Chicago - B.S. Zoology
1941 Stanford University - Ph.D. Microbiology

Accomplishment Summary

Trained as an ecologist and microbiologist, Garrett Hardin is best known for his 1968 essay, The Tragedy of the Commons, Science, 162, now reprinted in over 100 anthologies and widely accepted as a fundamental contribution to ecology, population theory, economics and political science. The application of this essay to the problems of foreign aid and immigration was captured in his 1974 essay Living on a Lifeboat, BioScience, 24(10), and more recently elucidated in The Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 9(5), 1994.

A common thread throughout his work is an interest in bioethics. Dr. Hardin views bioethics as more than just ethics applied to biological problems. He refers to "toughlove ethics" built on a biological foundation. Essential elements of such ethics are relative quantities, feedback processes, and the changes that time brings forth as unforeseen consequences of actions taken. In his book Filters Against Folly, 1985, he argues that ethical theory, to be useful, must employ three intellectual filters: literacy, concerned with the correct use of words, whether written or spoken; numeracy, involving the appreciation of quantities; and ecolacy, the study of relationships over time.

As a Professor of Human Ecology at the University of California for more than thirty years, Dr. Hardin publicly debated the issues of abortion, population control, foreign aid, nuclear power and immigration. He retired from the Santa Barbara campus in 1978, devoting himself to writing and speaking. His 1993 Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics and Population Taboos, Oxford University Press, received the Award in Science by the honor fraternity Phi Beta Kappa.

Dr. Hardin's most recent books include The Immigration Dilemma: Avoiding the Tragedy of the Commons, Federation for American Immigration Reform (1995), Stalking the Wild Taboo, The Social Contract Press (1996), and The Ostrich Factor: Our Population Myopia, Oxford University Press (1999). Dr. Hardin was awarded the 1997 Constantine Panunzio Distinguished Emeriti Award, each year honoring one retired member of the nine-campus University of California system for continued scholarly productivity.

Dr. Hardin has published over 350 articles and 27 books. Over 700,000 copies of his books have been sold.


Awards, Honors & Milestones

1930   Grand Prize, Chicago Daily News Essay Contest (Age 15; Essay on Edison)

1932   University of Chicago, Scholarship

1932   Chicago College of Music; Scholarship in Dramatic Arts

1942-46   Staff Member, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Division of Plant Biology, Stanford, California

1946-78   Ascending faculty positions in the Department of Biological Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

1952-53   Ford Fellow, California Institute of Technology

1963   Became Professor of Human Ecology, University of California, Santa Barbara

1964   Visiting Professor, UC, Berkeley

1964   Remson Bird Lecturer, Occidental College

1966   Faculty Research Lecture, UCSB (All-campus honor)

1968   "The Tragedy of the Commons", Science 162:1243-1247

1970   Visiting Professor, University of Chicago

1970   Nieuwland Lecturer, University of Notre Dame

1970-71   National Visiting Lecturer, Phi Beta Kappa

1972   Messenger Lecturer, Cornell University

1972-73   National Lecturer, Cornell University

1972-73   National Lecturer, Sigma Xi

1973   Environmental Hall of Fame Award, Friends of the Earth ("The single author who had the most different titles mentioned by voters")

1973   Elected Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

1974   Elected Member, American Philosophical Society

1974   Aquinas Foundation Lecture, Drew University

1974   Tracy I. Storer Lecturer, UC, Davis

1975   Elected Honorary Member, National Association of Biology Teachers

1975   Honorary Doctor of Humanities, University of Puget Sound

1975-76   Member, Advisory Committee on Ethical and Human Value Implications of Science and Technology; National Endowment for the Humanities & National Science Foundation

1976   Patten Foundation Lecturer, Indiana University

1977   Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Northland College

1978   The Institute for Scientific Information announced that Hardin's 1968 essay "The Tragedy of the Commons" was "one of the most cited items in its field" in the Social Science Citation Index and the Science Citation Index

1978   Became Emeritus Professor of Human Ecology, UCSB

1978   Lecturer, Dartmouth College (Chosen by students)

1979   Jesse and John Danz Lecturer, University of Washington

1979   Chief Executive Officer and Board Chairman of the Environmental Fund, Washington, D.C.

1970's and 1980's   Chairman and then Honorary Chairman of Population-Environment Balance

1980   Margaret Sanger Award, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

1986   Distinguished Service Award, American Institute of Biological Sciences

1987   Mack Lipkin Lecturer, American Museum (N.Y.)

1989   Humanist Distinguished Services Award, American Humanist Association

1990   Award, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

1990   Population-Environment Balance Carrying Capacity award

1990   Honored by day-long symposium by the American Institute of Biological Sciences at the Smithsonian Institution on the occasion of this 75th birthday. Proceedings published as Festschrift in Population and Environment, vol. 3

1991   Inaugural Lecturer, Cook-DeWitt Center, Grand Valley State University, Michigan

1992   The Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, June meeting symposium on "The Tragedy of the Commons: A Retrospective"

1994   Phi Beta Kappa Annual Award in Science, for the book, Living Within Limits, Oxford University Press, 1993

1996   Revised edition of Stalking the Wild Taboo, The Social Contract Press

1997   Constantine Panunzio Distinguished Emeriti Award, honoring continuing scholarly productivity following retirement. Given to one faculty member each year from the 9 campuses. In its first decade, a first time award to a member of the Santa Barbara campus

1997   As of June, "The Tragedy of the Commons" had been reprinted over 100 times, in anthologies in the fields of biology, ecology, environmental sciences, law, economics, sociology, political sciences, philosophy, ethics and English composition

1997   Revised edition of Mandatory Motherhood: The True Meaning of "Right to Life", The Social Contract Press

1999   Revised edition of The Limits of Altruism: An Ecologist's View of Survival re-titled Creative Altruism: An Ecologist Questions Motives, The Social Contract Press

1999   Publication of The Ostrich Factor: Our Population Myopia, Oxford University Press