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

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

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

chevy-vega

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.

Source: Reason.com

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Kelly
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Kelly

Well I gotta say this little essay is an sterling example of the different worlds conservatives and progressives seem to live in nowadays. I mean, do any of y’all so busy twisting your elbows to pat yourselves on the back happen to remember in between your nostalgia for old cars and your glory days, that in 1969 the Ohio River was so polluted in CAUGHT FIRE? Ring a bell, anyone, anyone? And that was just the most blatant example of the horrible pollution that so common then.

If any of you went back and read the quotes you’re bashing, you’ll notice how many of them say how horrible things will be UNLESS WE CHANGE. And guess what, e did change. We passed the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act – and you can bet your sweet ass that if we hadn’t America damn well would be the wasteland that was predicted. Those laws didn’t solv everything, but they stopped the worst of the worst.

The really sad thing is that back then partisanship wasn’t so all-consuming that the right would blot out basic facts if they contradicted their talking points. It was a Republican president who signed those Acts into law, because he could open his eyes and actually see they were needed. Nowadays it’s almost impossible to have a real discussion about environmental issues with conservatives because of just sort of willful ignorance everyone here seems so proud of.

Ronnie Rocket
Guest
Ronnie Rocket

Heck TNEB-
Mormons have known since before my lifetime that the world was coming to an end, just ask them and they’ll show you their food storage and guns to prove it.

Mike Kirby
Guest
Mike Kirby

I notice you make no mention of the dozens of times in the last 100 years that conservatives have cried that some Democrat program or other would lead straight to socialism in America, and then when those programs passed anyway, nothing like that happens.

Nice reporting. You’re all over other media sources for calling out isolated instances of conservatives doing something wrong without talking about numerous other times the left has done the same thing. Nice hypocrisy.

There's nuts in every bowl
Guest
There's nuts in every bowl

I’ve got a cousin that considers herself a Christian conservative activist; and is absolutely CONVINCED that the rapture is coming in the next month, and all hell will break loose. My brother-in-law, a back to the land granola head, is totally persuaded that the ensuing environmental meltdown will lead to much the same situation. I’ve met tea party activists that believe that our fiscal situation is bound to lead to eventual anarchy, and that we should start stockpiling food and guns. All have legitimate concerns that should be addressed (some with science, some with psychotherapy), but when so many people are turning negative about humanity’s prospects, you have to wonder if it won’t just turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Amren
Member
Amren

Just out of curiosity, Mike, which Democrat program has ever “passed away”? Welfare? Food Stamps? The NEA? The EPA?
I mean, if you’re going to make a statement like that, you should, at least, back it up with some facts.
The article simply re-printed statements that were made. It didn’t make any claims.
Regarding the “hypocrasy” statement: We’re all hypocrits. Anyone that says he isn’t is a dirty liar. It’s part of what makes us human and what makes this site possible.

Rosemary
Guest
Rosemary

Nothing happens?! But it HAS lead straight to socialism… look around! (Were you attempting sarcasm?)

Just look! See the government handing out money, taking over companies, implementing Obama-care, interfering with business, with daily lives, trying to run various aspects of the economy, etc. Institute Social Security and people think government owes you a great retirement — it was SUPPLEMENTAL, people. From medical care for the elderly it’s now turned into medical care for everybody – but by the government rules.

In addition to all the federal programs foisted on the people and the states, there are all the people who think the federal government isn’t taking enough from the people who “have” and giving it to the “have-nots” via government programs and just about everyone believes he or she is a “have-not”! Even at conservative & republican events I hear people saying the government should take care of this, that, and the other thing! People don’t even know what socialism IS anymore they’re so used to it.

anarchocapitalist
Guest
anarchocapitalist

@Mike Kirby
Damn, I wish I had seen your post when you first submitted it.(speaking of “dumb as a bag of hammers”) Just what type of system do you think we are living in right now? Do you think that this is a free and open capitalist system? Government takes ~30% of the income of less than 50 % of the population(the rest pay nothing), then they use it to pay for Government controlled education, Government owned and controlled banks, Government subsidized, corporate farms, Government pay for the stupid and lazy to stay single and have as many Government subsidized offspring as they want, Government subsidized healthcare for those same parasites. We have Government subsidized artist and musicians. I would say that all of the conservative caterwauling had a serious and legitimate purpose.

Why don’t you just go back to sleep and let those of us who are, at least partially aware, take care of the world as best we can!

RockingHorseGuy
Member

Thirty percent? What country are you living in? I’d love to only give thirty percent.

Raydar
Guest
Raydar

Unfortunately, none of the predictors of any of these events was available for comment. They all died of drug overdoses or in drunken-driving accidents.

Wrusssr
Member
Wrusssr

Hurrreeeyy. . .hurrreeeyy. . .hurrreeeyy ! Step right up to the global warming midway folks! See millions, billions, trillions traded for pigs, pokes, and lies. . . panting polar bears straight from the sands of the sinking arctic. . . snarling snow leopards searching for game. . .third world clowns juggling intelligent humans. . .a grim reaper galloping the Copenhagen streets. . . massive throngs wandering aimlessly …You there in the back! Why are you wearing that parka? Hurrreeeeyy. . .hurrreeeyy. . . folks!. . .see the Guinness record for limos and lear jets parked in one spot . . .hear tragic tales of total destruction from Oscar winners and Nobel laureates. . . You there on the right! Can you spare us a billion? That’s it! Step right up and empty your pockets on stage. . .brothers Al and Gordon will assist you. . .hurrrreeeyy. . .hurrrreeeey. . .hurrrreeey

* * *

Truth is. . .no one knows if the endangered species act is even effective.

Since 1973, the FWS claimed to have removed 27 species of plants or animals from the “endangered” or “threatened” list as we began the 21st Century.

Of these, seven were “de-listed” because they became extinct, nine were “data errors” and should have never been listed to begin with, and the other 11 recovered with the help of traditional conservation measures – the kind ranchers and farmers practiced the last half century, according to a Congressional Research Service issue brief.

Scientists still don’t know how many species there are on earth. Estimates range from 5 to 100 million, with 10 to 30 million being the general talking number.

Not knowing how many species there are, scientists can’t predict at what rate they’ve gone extinct, are going extinct, will go extinct, or should go extinct, though all agree the vast majority of species (90 percent, plus) that ever lived on earth are now extinct – an observation uncontested by paleontologists.

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[…] Read them here: Fifteen Foolish Forecasts: How did environmentalists get it so wrong on Earth Day 1970? | IHateTheMe…. […]

DLC
Guest
DLC

I like that last one. We are definitely in an “Ass” age. They continue to come out of the wood work!

hisham
Guest
hisham

OMG I hated these marxist progressive wannabe climatologist wackos then and I hate them more now. They’re all liars, sons and daughters of liars. All of them convinced of their scientific infallibility, all of them invincibly ignorant! And in Christian charity we let them live and breath…and breed! WHY?

Always On Watch
Guest

I’ll say one thing about these environmental loons: they are persistent.

Or maybe I should say that they perseverate? Definition of perseveration: 1. Uncontrollable repetition of a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder.

2. The tendency to continue or repeat an act or activity after the cessation of the original stimulus.

CS
Guest
CS

So that’s it – they have Tourette Syndrome! I wonder if Obamacare will cover that.

sifi
Member
sifi

Like when they gather in town squares, wandering around repeating over and over stuff like…
Capitalism bad
U.S. bad
Oil bad

Best Bob Hope movie line….
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWpU8sX10_4

DeanH
Member
DeanH

Bob Hope had some great lines and this is no doubt the best one for this point in time and especially this web site!

Wm. Matthews
Guest
Wm. Matthews

Heck, in the early 60’s a prof. at CU in Boulder told my Dad and others that the trend was going to be warming, more water in the air and more flooding and dryer areas with a lot less rain. Then, the sea ice is going to continue to melt and the ice sheet on Greenland would melt faster too. THEN some time about the time “we” have died and our great grand kids are adults the flow of cold water that keeps the sea moving will slow and warm water will slow or stop in a “short” time (he never did get how short across) and the next ice age will start.. He DID say his GUESS was in about 200 years give or take. So, we are now about 160 years away from the great ice age starting… Put that in a box to open in 200 years and we will see how that goes too.

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[…] mockery I see directed at it. But for a more factual take-down, see I Hate the Media’s “Fifteen Foolish Forecasts: How Did Environmentalists Get It So Wrong On Earth Day 1970?” What was once Earth Day has now morphed into Earth Hour and Earth Week. The success of the […]

andycanuck
Member
andycanuck

But that is what the ’70s were like. And then Carter lost the election and things got better.

BTW, happy Lenin’s birthday, comrades!

[Ha-ha. My captcha code for this post is PC75]

Administrator
Admin

Two commie celebrations for the price of one!

I just ran into this piece at the San Francisco Chronicle, on this very subject. It’s too funny, you have to read it:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/hleon/detail?entry_id=61942

It begins:

April 22nd is Earth Day. It’s also Lenin’s birthday. Conspiracy theory nuts pop a major woody over this coincidence. Just a mere two days after hearing people pull parallels between 4/20 and Hitler’s birthday, we know have to listen to the right-wing conservatives connect the dots between the day designated to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment, alongside the birthday of the man who developed the pragmatic Russian application of Marxism.

While attending the big Tea Party Patriot jamboree…

whiskeyriver
Member
whiskeyriver

Too funny! I have been called a lot of things in my life but I have never been called a “watermelon” before! Oh well, like most things in life, if this is the worst thing someone can call me I would say it’s been a pretty good day.

CO2Insanity
Admin

I really miss the Ford Pinto (not!)

kb
Member
kb

Gremlins were pretty awesome too! 🙂

DJ
Guest
DJ

“Gremlins were pretty awesome too!”

Right up there with the Pacers!

sifi
Member
sifi

I owned a Ford Maverick. I Don’t miss it either.

JDubbia
Member
JDubbia

Me too, a light blue 1970 Maverick. I traded it for a 1971 Dodge Challenger RT as soon as I turned 18. I miss that big block MOPAR.

DeanH
Member
DeanH

My neighbors had one with a bumper sticker on the back that said ‘HIT HERE FOR EXPLOSION’.

jukin
Guest
jukin

Paul Ehrlich is a high level adviser to the child that is POTUS.

Failure truly is a resume enhancer for the donks.

Bruce
Guest
Bruce

yes but this is way before All knowing Al gore invented the internets

anarchocapitalist
Guest
anarchocapitalist

Holy Cheez and Crackers!!!
Am I the only person on earth who know anything about Thomas Malthus?
Am I the only person on earth who knows that in the 1800’s about 80% of our population were farmers who produced enough food to feed 4 people.
Now about 10% are farmers who produce enough to feed over 100 people.
Has our land mass increased? Has our population diminished? Hell, 80 % of us spend 5-6 hrs/day doing the left-handed lambada with our willie and we stil have one of the best economy’s on the planet. GEEZ, these people are just dumb as a bag of hammers.

whiskeyriver
Member
whiskeyriver

I prefer the Horizontal Sofa Shuffle with the lady down the street but whatever yanks your crank.

Good Friday, not Earth Day
Guest
Good Friday, not Earth Day

Hey Anarchocapitalist–Newsflash, buddy–the malthusian prophecies have been shown to be total bunk. Overpopulation is a myth. Google it.

nonkenyan
Member
nonkenyan

A science teacher told me he was going to show his class what over- population looked like. He pointed to 3 maple trees, heavy with seeds, and said, “that’s the lesson: overpopulation”. I told him those 3 trees were about 30 years old, and in 30 years, ther would sill be 3 trees. What that is, is sex, not over-population. Do you have a baby every time you have sex? He turned and walked away. Lesson over. These are the same college educated people teaching global warming and evolution to your kids.

hisham
Guest
hisham

GFnED, I think you missed the point!

hpjunior
Guest

@ Good Friday, not Earth Day…

You misunderstood Anarchocapitalist’s comment. He or she was NOT supporting Malthusian prophecies. Anarcho merely asked, “Am I the only person on earth who know (sic) anything about Thomas Malthus?”

If I asked a similar question about Karl Marx, would that make me a Marxist? You should’ve read and understood the remainder of his comment, in which he took apart and refuted the Malthusian point of view, i.e., that, in the future, there will be too many people, so many we can’t feed and provide services for them all.

anarchocapitalist
Guest
anarchocapitalist

I believe that was EXACTLY my point. These Chicken Littles of the world continue to tell us that our resources are at an end, but they ignore the obvious facts that our increased knowledge, use and understanding of technology has magnified our efficiency exponentially.

DeanH
Member
DeanH

The Malthusian Diet Plan is one part of the Global Occupation’s control measures.

Demo
Guest
Demo

the problem is, its all done by big companys that forced the farmers out, and they dont care about anything but money. before you know it, you will be forced to buy what they want you to buy. Most people are sheep, and just aimlessly follow the flock.

whiskeyriver
Member
whiskeyriver

“Most people are sheep, and just aimlessly follow the flock.”

The problem with sheep is they are too dumb to find feed and water on their own so the “flock” has to be led. Most sheepmen use goats to do the leading, they can find food and water by themselves.

The sheeple in this country are not much different. They elect the “goats”, depending on them to show them where the food and water is, never realizing that they are being led to slaughter. Look at the economic mess we have today, the unemployment, the rising energy costs, it’s pretty easy to tell who the goats are.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Paper or plastic bag of hammers….

anarchocapitalist
Guest
anarchocapitalist

OH, double paper wrapped in plastic, with polystyrene padding to prevent them from breaking through.

whiskeyriver
Member
whiskeyriver

You guys make me feel old at times. The Doors were kicking ass, and raising eyebrows, when I was a teenager. I never, ever, swear on my dear departed grandmothers grave, owned or wore a leisure suit. If we had Walmarts back then they would have been in the “People you see in Walmart” funnies. They were that ugly.

1976, still in the military, my very first brand new car. A Chevy Cosworth Vega! What a car it was too! Cosworth, an English company, built racing engines for Fomula I race cars and GM made some kind of deal with them. They wanted a 4 cylinder engine that ran on unleaded gas, got good gas mileage, and would be considered a mini-muscle car. GM got their wish, I got a great little car for $2800.00.

The speedometer said it would go 140 mph but I never took it that high. Over 120 the car would start to float around on you and I didn’t have the guts to push it much higher. It wouldn’t rip the rear tires off like a 289 Mustang could but it was pretty quick off the line. One time, coming home for a visit, I made it from Reno to Las Vegas in 6 hours and still got 38 miles to the gallon of gas. 55 was the national speed limit by then but Nevada was still fighting it in the courts and their speed limit was “safe and reasonable”. About 460 miles of straight, flat Nevada highway on a moonlit night. That’s a memory you don’t forget. And no, I did not stop at the Mustang Ranch on the way.

Sorry for the ramble, I got a little carried away. Those of us old enough heard all this crap 40 years ago, only the mantra of the day was “globull cooling”. Only eco-freaks too young to remember and too dumb to read a history book would believe this “globull warming” nonsense. 40 years ago the “scientists”, who depended on gooberment funding for their living, told us what the government wanted us go hear. Nothing has changed today other than we have a whole new generation of fools who listen to what “scientists”, who depend on government funding for their living, are saying.

RockingHorseGuy
Member

Hey, every once in a while, you got to trade in the old foolishness for some new foolishness.

Plainsman
Member
Plainsman

Hey Whiskey, ramble all you want. I loved hearing about your Cosworth Vega. I remember seeing a few of those around. It was the ONLY Vega worth owning. Reno to Vegas flat out, eh? Wow!

whiskeyriver
Member
whiskeyriver

Other than having to slow down for Fallon, Goldfield, Tonopah, the little towns scattered across the desert, you can still rip through to Vegas in pretty good time.

DeanH
Member
DeanH

I remember those little Cosworth suckers. Were they all painted black? I saw a few of em over the years and I think they were all black, maybe some gold trim. Hell I could be mixing up some things here. But they were snotty. I chuckled at first.

whiskeyriver
Member
whiskeyriver

Mine was white with the two wide, black stripes running from front to back on the hood, top and rear hatch.

Demo
Guest
Demo

My daily driver is a 69 plymouth that gets 20 MPG on the original motor.
the new cars they make now arent even recycleable, yet they say they help our environment. we have the ability to make and run ethanol which makes cars run great, and produce no polution, but im sure they wont make as much money, so they dont promote it. bottom line, everything is about money, even if they have to say its for the good of our country or environment.

whiskeyriver
Member
whiskeyriver

Ethanol is not the answer, it is the problem. Gallon for gallon ethanol mixes produce less energy than gasoline. If we would go back to plain old unleaded gas todays cars would run much better and their gas mileage would jump at least 20%.

Rambling Man
Guest
Rambling Man

Ethanol is an economic joke. How does stealing from your food source for gasoline make sense? It drives the price of corn up making food costs higher. Meanwhile, farmers plant more corn and less of the other grains which lowers the supply of those grains and raises the costs. I thought it was funny last year when the EPA found about a dozen violations at MN ethanol plants. Kind of ironic.

deepthinker
Member
deepthinker

Fools then and fools now. Why isn’t Albert Gore Jr. out today making wild assumptions and allegations? First global cooling now global warming and we have the biggest scam of them all Earth Day.

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loshonhora
Member
loshonhora

but, don’t you see? 40 years of gathering together 1 day/year and watching smug hippies speechify and play bongos has averted all these disasters.

Big Al
Member
Big Al

They should have predicted that there would be a communist in the White House.