Marchers for Science Welfare–Remember this

13 Most Ridiculous Predictions Made on Earth Day, 1970

Behold the coming apocalypse, as predicted on and around Earth Day, 1970:

“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

“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.” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

“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.” — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter

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

“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for 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.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [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

“Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” — Paul Ehrlich

“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.’” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

“[One] theory assumes that the earth’s cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun’s heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.” — Newsweek magazine

“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

Special thanks to Jonathon Moseley for this complilation.

4 thoughts on “Marchers for Science Welfare–Remember this”

  1. The now-classic Meadows and Meadows: Limits to Growth model was partially predicated upon the finite fossil fuel assumption.We were “taught” in school (by a highly inept and inefficient educational system that values obedience to “authority”) that petroleum ultimately came from dead dinosaurs — when even the most elementary spacio-temporal biomass analysis would indicate micro-algae as the primary biomaterial source.

    The model was further challenged by emergence of the parallel abiotic theory of petroleum formation and technological developments in fracking, so, the
    world will not run out of oil in the 21st century as originally predicted ca. 1970.

    This does not, however, give us carte blanche to continue careless open-loop resource usage, as pollution itself is a wasted resource and a sign of poor management.

    Careful planning of closed-loop industrial complexes (in which seven or so factories are are arranged so as to direct the waste stream of one process into the raw material stream of another industrial process) can reduce up to ninety-five per cent (95%) of pollution and resultant environmental impact.

    In-stream hydrokinetics is another low-impact ,zero-pollution sustainable and renewable electric energy source, however, it is currently and unnecessarily mired in a bureaucratic morass of relatively poor energy policy.

    Inevitably, objective science should play a more critical role in the public policy process. Politically or special interest driven science, however, is not true science. It is ultimately up to policy makers to make proper decisions and the general electorate to hold their elected officials accountable at the polls.

    It is possible to have a clean environment and a sound economy if we adopt a more creative and innovative approach. This will require a more intelligent political, economic and cultural framework.

    Anything less is a public disservice.

  2. I agree. One big variable was the move from socialism to capitalism in a lot of the world. The technology was said to increase food supply arithmetically while the population increased geometrically. That turned out not to be the case as well. China and India moved away from socialism and their middle class blossomed and people stopped starving. That’s almost 40% of the world population. It turns out the problem was economics not environmental sustainability.

  3. During the town of Lewes “Coast Day” around 20 years ago, Tom Carper said that in 20 years Coast Day will have to be held in Dover, because Lewes will be underwater…. He was totally serious.

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