13 Most Ridiculous Predictions Made on Earth Day, 1970

shutterstock_115509832Today is Earth Day — an annual event first launched on April 22, 1970. The inaugural festivities (organized in part by then hippie and now convicted murderer Ira Einhorn) predicted death, destruction and disease unless we did exactly as progressives commanded. Sound familiar? Behold the coming apocalypse, as predicted on and around Earth Day, 1970:

  1. “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — Harvard biologist George Wald
  2. “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
  3. “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
  4. “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
  5. “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
  6. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day
  7. “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
  8. “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
  9. “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
  10. “Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” — Paul Ehrlich
  11. “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
  12. “[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
  13. “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

A version of this article was posted last year.


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  1. carcat74

    Oh my, you mean I’ve been dead all these years, and didn’t know it? But—I voted Republican!

  2. Bob Wainwright

    I never even heard of Earth Day until the early 90s, maybe 1992.  Does anyone else recall that it suddenly became very popular then?  I thought it was really strange how quickly it came to the forefront.  I thought it had something to do with the sudden collapse of USSR.  The great leftist hope was gone and all that utopian energy needed another outlet.

  3. John Peabody

    Tree-hugging aside, one must admit that the many anti-pollution steps have not been 100% horrible. I appreciate the fact that modern jet engines pollute so much less. I appreciate that fact that vehicle gas mileage has improved drastically. Perhaps these predictions did not come true, albiet in a very small measure, because of some of the steps of the 1970s. This has been follwed by years of overreach and overreaction, yes, but the kick-starting of 1970 was not entirely a horrible thing.

  4. Charlotte

    In 1970 someone would fill up your gas tank for you?!

    The past really is a foreign country.

  5. Hugh

    #3 John.  Yes, I do agree with you on that.

    Well, back to binge-watching Doctor Who…..

  6. Eiros

    I come from place that was mostly wilderness.  On trip down the old road to next town, you carried rifle.  There were wolves and bears in woods.  But we never used rifles.  We usually only heard animals, and mostly at night when wolves would howl and bears would eat garbage outside of town.

    I only saw wolf once.  They are wild and know how to stay away from people.  This was in Europe: northern Balkans.

    God’s earth cannot be in so much of trouble if wolves still hunt deer in Europe.

     

  7. Marion Evans

    Ehrlich is still at Stanford, right? This is an example of how tenure damages the progress of new ideas, instead of the opposite. There are plenty of young fresh PhDs with new ideas looking for positions at universities. But many seats are occupied by well past their prime professors for decades and decades.

  8. Randy Weivoda

    Charlotte:In 1970 someone would fill up your gas tank for you?!

    The past really is a foreign country.

    There are a couple states – Oregon is one – where it’s illegal to pump your own gas.

  9. James Gawron

    Jon,

    I remember Earth Day 1970. One of my friends was really into it. He got the High School to bring in a speaker. It was a very conservative community but that was nature of environmentalism. It could morph its appearance to make you think they were responsible apolitical people. As we can see from your list of psychotic predictions, nothing could be further from the truth.

    This is my standard summation of the lunacy of environmentalism. How millions of jobs have been lost? How many trillions of dollars of GNP have been annihilated? How many billions of human lives have been beggared?

    Maybe there is one last question that needs to be answered in honor of Earth Day. How many people are dead because of the stupidity of environmentalism?

    Regards,

    Jim

  10. Vance Richards

    Good thing we heeded their warnings and avoided all that. Although we were a little too good at fighting Global Cooling.

  11. Michael Sanregret

    I recently saw several posts on Facebook showing horrible pollution in China, and warning that this is what will happen in the US if we follow conservative and libertarian principles.  Just remember, no matter how much the evidence fails to support what they are saying, they are the ones that accept science.

  12. Tommy De Seno
    C

    -By 2015, men like Jon Stewart and Bill Maher will still believe this stuff…

  13. Kate Braestrup

    Hugh:#3 John. Yes, I do agree with you on that.

    Well, back to binge-watching Doctor Who…..

    Me too.  Plus the Green Revolution.

  14. Misthiocracy

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

    < satirical devil’s advocate mode = on >

    Yabbut, immediate action was taken. The EPA was founded in December of 1970!

    The system worked!

    < satirical devil’s advocate mode = off >

  15. Misthiocracy

    James Gawron:How many people are dead because of the stupidity of environmentalism?

    Yabbut, humans are an invasive species.

  16. Brian Clendinen

    Why can’t someone make a decent TV ad highlighting this. I would give a lot of money to help fund this message on the airwaves?

    Oh wait Politicians and political parties are narcissists and only want to blow my money branding  parties or a persons name, not using my money to change peoples mind on an issue thru effective advertising  that completely ignores their brand name. Progressive NGO’s who are environmental fascist religious wackos that love pink are the only ones who bother to due that.

  17. Arizona Patriot

    Bob Wainwright:

    I never even heard of Earth Day until the early 90s, maybe 1992. Does anyone else recall that it suddenly became very popular then? I thought it was really strange how quickly it came to the forefront. I thought it had something to do with the sudden collapse of USSR. The great leftist hope was gone and all that utopian energy needed another outlet.

    I think you have it right, Bob.  The word that I use is Watermelons — green on the outside, red on the inside.  A great many of the communists and socialists turned “green” after the fall of the Soviet Union.

  18. blank generation member

    Jeffrey Sachs was on Fareed Zakaria last Sunday (I know, why do I abuse myself?). Apparently 2015 is THE tipping point year where sustainability and global warming must be tackled or there is no going back.  I thought,  “yes and he really must fly around the world to deliver this message.”

  19. Instugator

    @Charlotte – In New Jersey it is illegal to pump your own gas today.

  20. SteveSc

    It’s almost like you can’t believe anything the environmentalists say…


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