Earth Day – 1970
You may or may not remember the first Earth Day in 1970. Let’s just say the “time was ripe” given the social upheaval going on in the US. And so, a great “teach in” was conducted on April 22, 1970.
Fifth Avenue in New York City was closed to automobiles as 100,000 people joined in concerts, lectures, and street theater. More than 2,000 colleges and universities across America paused their anti-war protests to rally instead against pollution and population growth.
Yes friends, population growth was the “climate change” of the first Earth Day and with it, the usual doom and gloom:
Imminent global famine caused by the explosion of the “population bomb” was the big issue on Earth Day 1970. Then–and now–the most prominent prophet of population doom was Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich. Dubbed “ecology’s angry lobbyist” by Life magazine, the gloomy Ehrlich was quoted everywhere. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” he confidently declared in an interview with then-radical journalist Peter Collier in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”
“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Ehrlich in an essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe!,” which ran in the special Earth Day issue of the radical magazine Ramparts. “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.” Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”
All of this was announced with great certainty and, frankly, a consensus of sorts. The fact that it rested on theory and that science didn’t really support it seemed irrelevant. It was, since the war in Viet Nam was winding down, the “next great cause!” So the horrific prognostications were slung willy nilly and the press and activists ate them up.
In January 1970, Life reported, “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….”
“Solid experimental and theoretical evidence”. Solid … like the hockey stick. Theoretical … like climate models. Reality – nothing like the prediction.
Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “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.’”
Because, you know … “science” says so! Yet we’re awash in the stuff thanks to real science and technology. Scientific progress applied in technology is always ignored by the prognosticators of doom.
Oh and in case we have forgotten:
Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “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.”
“Present trends?” Well, thank goodness for “climate change” then, huh?
Of course not … that’s what this gloom and doom Earth Day will be all about. Check back in about 45 years to see how wrong the “consensus” is from tomorrow’s big meeting as thousands of activist use fossil fuel transportation to meet and tell us how we must quit using fossil fuel transports to save the earth.