Fifteen Foolish Forecasts: How did environmentalists get it so wrong on Earth Day 1970?

by editor on April 22, 2011

What was once Earth Day has now morphed into Earth Hour and Earth Week. The success of the celebration can only be explained by the fact that no one ever bothers to go back to check the accuracy of the eco-wackos’ past predictions.

For example, the predictions made at the first Earth Day in 1970 were wrong. No, wrong isn’t a strong enough word. They were spectacularly wrong. Let’s cover all the tenses and say they were wrong, they are wrong, and then make our own prediction and say they will be wrong in the future.


Jim Morrison, gone. Elvis Presley, gone. Michael Jackson, gone. But none of them were killed by the environment.

Need proof? Here are some of the hilarious, remarkably wrong predictions made on Earth Day 1970.

“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

“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


Leisure suits are gone, but the Earth is still here

“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

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

“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, January 1970

“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

“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


Sadly, vegans have outlived the Vega.

“Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.”
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“We are prospecting for the very last of our resources and using up the nonrenewable 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, Ecologist

“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

“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

“We have about five more years at the outside to do something.”
• Kenneth Watt, ecologist

“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

Today, Earth Day, the eco-wackos will surely get their day moment in the spotlight and their soundbites on the nightly news. They’ll predict a future even grimmer than they predicted 41 years ago.

And they’ll be just as wrong 41 years from now.


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92 Comments on "Fifteen Foolish Forecasts: How did environmentalists get it so wrong on Earth Day 1970?"

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Hughes told the National Assembly that 2016 will see commencement of the implementation of the Roadmap.


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The environmental movement should be seen for what it has become, a haven for socialist/marxist/communist types since the collapse of the Soviet Union. I also like how we get the “We only have 10 years…” BS every year, for the last 40 years. These are people who need to go away.


Marxists have always loved their 5 & 10 year plans. Keeps people from realizing that it’s bullshit today.


Only ten of those had dates.

Robin Holt

The claim about pollution was not that far from the mark. In the US, we do lose approximately 30,000 people each year due to respiratory problems from coal plant air pollution. Take that worldwide, and we probably are losing a few hundred thousand each year. Otherwise, it is, as we see these days, wild guessing.


[…] Fifteen Foolish Forecasts: How did environmentalists get it so wrong on Earth Day 1970? […]


People say to me, smoking will kill you… I say so will crossing the street, eating mcdonalds, flying, driving. I sat in the sun two days ago and got myself a nice little sunburn, a lady in line at Walgreens says to me, aren’t you worried about skin cancer? I say to her if I sat around worrying about all the things they say are bad for me or will kill me I might as well bubble wrap myself and stay locked in a closet. They just don’t get it, all so afraid of death or the world ending… live morons, LIVE! Someday I want to die riding my horse with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, I tell my kids if they come to visit and the horse isn’t in the barn follow the trail to the burnt spot in the field that’s where I’ll be very happily dead. Hopefully if I don’t die too quickly I can put out the potential forest fire with my Ziegenbock! Made in Texas for Texans! Whoo Hoo ~!~!


I love trash any thing dirty or dingy or dusty thats my motto know how to anger a lib KEEP THE EARTH DIRTY ! LOL. I have old rust cars stacked up dripping oil everywhere I dump freeon into the river and If I could I would buy radiation to sprinkle on my lawn HAHAHA stupid libs eat that!


scientist used to believe that bugs came from garbage ,the world was flat,periods was contagous,and leeches cured cancer.They are WRONG WRONG WRONG and will alway be wrong.
I got strait C+ in Mr.Davis science class both years I was in it and I know more then scientist.




Well, no shit sonny, the day we are born we start to die. Some a little sooner, some a little later, the end result of life is the same.


I already did once. It wasn’t that bad. Didn’t hurt at all until the paramedics revived me.


My Gremlin is still parked in the garage! Needs a complete make-over. I’ve been TRYING to tell all these young whippersnappers that this climate change is an old tune!

Ronnie Rocket

You are absolutely right. I had the same thoughts reading some of the posts above. However the media typically only reports the silly inflammatory stupid ideas that gets said not the reasonable rational approaches to problem solving. I am tired of the extremist points of view on both sides. No one wants to be reasonable, patient and sane. I guess that is no fun.
The environment is cleaner, there is plenty of oil to last for hundereds of years, cars are perhaps 1000 times cleaner than they were in the 1970’s. All we need now is leadership and an inspired vision for the future. Hopefully one borne from hope and positive thinking not fear desperation and fatalism.