Earth Day 1970 – Predictions Gone Wild

The site IHatetheMedia.com posted some of the spectacular predictions from the very first Earth Day, in 1970. They’ve turned out precisely as one might imagine. Here’s a sample:

“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, the day after the first Earth Day

“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…[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.”
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.”
• Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day

Uh huh. Here’s another:

“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.”
• Sen. Gaylord Nelson

Sound familiar? It should. The same is being said today:

Researchers say that about one-third of the world’s species are now threatened with extinction. Nearly half of all bird and amphibian populations are declining, wildlife habitats are being overrun, and the march of invasive species is increasing on all continents in all kinds of ecosystems.

And if you thought only hippies were guilty of such hyperbole, here’s more:

Humans are continuing their exploitation of the planet and other species, and it’s contributing to what some scientists have called the sixth extinction, a mass extinction similar in size to the one that ended the reign of the dinosaurs.

As they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Environmentalists continue to hope for the worst, and keep getting disappointed. If you want to understand their basic premises, check out this wealth of information at the Ayn Rand Institute. You’ll be glad you did.

Oh, and one last bit from Earth Day, 1970:

“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, Ecologist

That really would be a catastrophe, now wouldn’t it?

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