With Lenin’s Birthday Earth Day coming up, here are some thoughts from the original Earth Day back in 1970. How many times do alarmists have to be wrong before they stop getting such breathless press?
“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner for a 1970 Earth Day issue of “Environment,” a scientific journal.
He did not put an end date to his prediction. But Ehrlich did.
“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Ehrlich said in 1970.
“The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”
Ehrlich was an optimist compared to Denis Hayes, an aide to Nelson, the chief organizer for the first Earth Day.
“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” Hayes said.
“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.”
I am thrilled with the progress we have made on a number of real issues — including air and water pollution — since 1970. It is unfortunate that our attention to these issues has been diverted by a 20 year obsession with trace amounts of CO2.