Earth Alarmism Day today celebrates human cowardice

This started in 1970 and not one of the many catastrophes predicted has come to pass. 22nd April 1970 is when environmentalism buried its frightened head and started humans down the path of subordinating their actions to the fear of imagined, future catastrophes.

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.”  Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day, 1970

“If present trends continue, the world will be … eleven degrees colder by the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.” Kenneth E.F. Watt, in “Earth Day,” 1970.

“By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people … If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” Paul Ehrlich, Speech at British Institute For Biology, September 1971.

“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.” Ehrlich, speech during Earth Day, 1970

“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, Earth Day 1970

Every year since has been the “last chance” to do something about some imagined, looming disaster. Each pending disaster has been based on some belief and the forecast is always for some future time such that no indicating parameters can be measured. Yet doomsayers and their predictions (which all fail) remain the darlings of the media looking for a sensational headline. For “scientists”, doomsaying which cannot be checked in their lifetimes is a certain way to get funding. Acid rain never did threaten the Black Forest. The ozone hole was not caused by man and healed itself. The ice age predicted in the 1970s did not happen. World-wide starvation did not occur. There are more species alive today than ever before (though it is not clear as to why that is a good thing).

Global warming has been absent for 2 decades while carbon dioxide emissions have almost doubled. Most of the global warming that has occurred falls within the bounds of natural variability (as a new paper recently showed). Most predictions about global warming have failed and none has ever been proven. The fantasised link between carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and significant global warming is well and truly broken. Even the link between man-made carbon dioxide emissions and carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is tenuous at best. Sea levels are not increasing any faster than since the end of the last ice age. Global ice coverage is currently at the highest for many years and all the variations in ice extent in modern times are within the bounds of natural variability. The acidity of the oceans is not showing any change beyond that of natural variability. Coral reefs are not dying out.

Population – sans immigration – is already in decline in China and most Western countries. By 2050 population will be in decline in India and by 2100 in the whole world.  In the 4 decades since 1970, world population has doubled from 3.5 billion to 7 billion and fewer people are dying of starvation. More people are being fed today than ever before. Fewer people are dying of disease (but more are dying in wars). In spite of industrial activity and its growth, longevity is increasing all over the world. Gene modified crops are feeding the world. Peak oil did not happen and neither did peak gas. With shale discoveries and the potential of methane hydrates, fossil fuels will be available to humankind for the best part of the next 1,000 years.

Here are some more of the alarmist predictions of that first Earth Day of Cowards in 1970. Paul Ehrlich sticks out as being one of the chief proponents of cowardice:

“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

“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”  George Wald, Harvard Biologist

“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

“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

“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

“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

And all the headlines today read just the same. A celebration of cowardice. My faith is not in catastrophe but in human ingenuity to cope – and thrive – in whatever conditions may prevail. We will manage whether sea level is 100 m lower than today in another ice age or if it rises another 2 m. We will even survive a VEI 8 volcano eruption whenever it comes – and come it will. Primitive man thrived through a number of glacial periods and many greenings of the Sahara. I would prefer an Earth Day which celebrated the ingenuity of man – but that is not the stuff of headlines.

Without scepticism there is no science – only religious belief.

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One Response to “Earth Alarmism Day today celebrates human cowardice”

  1. Richard111 Says:

    Thanks for this post. A very timely reminder and useful reference.

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