Earth Day, celebrated in the US on April 22, is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It was founded in 1970 by US Senator Gaylord (yes, really!) Nelson and is celebrated in many countries every year.
Here are some of the serious predictions made by scientists at the time of the first Earth Day in 1970. I'll repeat that: this is what scientists predicted in 1970 ...
“We have about five more years at the outside to do something” - Kenneth Watt, ecologist
“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind” - George Wald, Harvard biologist
“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation” - Barry Commoner, Washington University biologist
“Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction” - New York Times editorial
“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 ten years” - Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist
“By… 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” - Paul Ehrlich
“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation” - Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day
“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions ... by the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine” - Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University
“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support the following predictions: in a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution … by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half ...” - Life Magazine
“At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable” - Kenneth Watt, ecologist
“Air pollution ... is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone” - Paul Ehrlich
“We are prospecting for the very last of our resources and using up the non-renewable things many times faster than we are finding new ones” - Martin Litton, Sierra Club director
“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.’” - Kenneth Watt
“Dr.S.Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct” - Senator Gaylord Nelson
“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age” - Kenneth Watt
"In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish" - Paul Ehrlich
... and they didn't stop in 1970. Finding that newspapers were suddenly taking notice and their own kudos was increasing, scientists carried on making this rubbish up, and various sensationalist journalists and authors got in on the act ...
in 1971: "The continued rapid cooling of the earth since WW2 is in accord with the increase in global air pollution associated with industrialisation, mechanisation, urbanisation and exploding population" - Reid Bryson
in 1975: "There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production - with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food production could begin quite soon. The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard pressed to keep up with it" - Newsweek
in 1976: "This (cooling) trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century" - Peter Gwynne
also in 1976: "This cooling has already killed hundreds of thousands of people. If it continues and no strong action is taken, it will cause world famine, world chaos and world war, and this could all come about before the year 2000" - Lowell Ponte
Will we never learn? Why the hell, nearly forty years later, are we still listening to any scientists? Look, pretty lady, if you really want to know the future, cross my palm with silver and I'll fire up the old crystal ball ...
Notice how one Paul Ehrlich keeps cropping up? We Googled him, and found that he was already doing his best to spread environmental hysteria well before good ol' Gaylord invented Earth Day. In 1968 he published "The Population Bomb" which contained this little gem: "The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s, hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programmes embarked upon now. At this late date, nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate."
Damn. I must have missed that.
Oddly enough, Ehrlich seems to be still alive (not starved to death, then?) and still spouting the same old rubbish. Being proved monumentally wrong hasn't changed his opinions one tiny bit.
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.
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