40 Years of Doomsaying Earth Day Predictions

In case you missed it, it was Earth Day yesterday. Frankly, I don’t know how you could. If you turn on the TV, a radio or went on any Internet search engine you could not help but notice the in your face green themes.

Take heart, though. Lucky for you that missed celebrating Earth Day – the celebration is all week long.

So in the spirit of Earth week — let’s look back to the beginnings of Earth Day and some of the predictions made by the scientific geniuses some 40 or so years ago.

Let us start with a quotation from the chief organizer of Earth Day, Denis Hayes in 1970. Remember, these are men of science not prone to hyperbole.

He said: “It’s already too late to avoid mass starvation.” Well, that’s a gloomy prediction.

Then there was Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich, who had quite a bit to say regarding the state of our planet in the 1970s.

“By 1975, some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

He continued:

 “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next 10 years.”

Wow! Pretty bold prediction. Another gem from Dr. Ehrlich: “Air pollution … is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.”

I’m surprised there’s anyone left on the planet. To date, I don’t believe Dr. Ehrlich has been right about anything … ever.

Noted ecologist Kenneth Watt had a few gems of scientific wisdom to impart to readers about 40 years ago. He claimed: “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate … that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘fill ’er up buddy,’ and he’ll say, I am very sorry, there isn’t any.”

Of course, he couldn’t possibly have known that in 2013 we’ve discovered more oil than we know what to do with. We’re just not allowed to access it. When I think about it, that whole “no gas at the pump thing” isn’t so far-fetched, considering the current administration.

Watt shared another pearl of undeniable truth with readers in the 1970s: “The world has been chilling sharply for about 20 years. If present trends continue, the world will be about 4° colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but 11° colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

Wait… What?! Global cooling – my how things change in a geologic blink of an eye.

And finally, the words of Harvard biologist George Wald (1906–1997), who as a scientist was not prone to exaggeration: “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

Well, great. I guess we took the correct action. I feel better.

Have you ever noticed that these “experts” were not only wrong about every prediction, but most of them seem to predict decades out. It’s as if they know no one could dispute their wacky predictions for a generation.

By that time our worrywart society will be on to the next impending doom. Like, say … Global Warming.