13 Most Ridiculous Predictions Made on Earth Day, 1970

 

Saturday 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 in 2014.

Published in General
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Members have made 57 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  1. Profile photo of Jules PA Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    • “[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

    My faves.

    • #1
    • April 21, 2017 at 3:50 pm
    • Like5 likes
  2. Profile photo of Bryan G. Stephens Reagan

    HA HA! Number 11! as if someone today is filling up your car for you! They so missed that!

    • #2
    • April 21, 2017 at 3:53 pm
    • Like22 likes
  3. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher

    “Soylent Green is people!” — Robert Thorn

    • #3
    • April 21, 2017 at 3:53 pm
    • Like5 likes
  4. Profile photo of Mister Dog Member

    Only thirteen?

    • #4
    • April 21, 2017 at 4:12 pm
    • Like2 likes
  5. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    HA HA! Number 11! as if someone today is filling up your car for you! They so missed that!

    Except in Oregon. I almost got yelled at by a hippie last year in Pendleton for trying to pump my own gas.

    • #5
    • April 21, 2017 at 4:15 pm
    • Like8 likes
  6. Profile photo of The King Prawn Member

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    HA HA! Number 11! as if someone today is filling up your car for you! They so missed that!

    Except in Oregon. I almost got yelled at by a hippie last year in Pendleton for trying to pump my own gas.

    Always drive into Wa to fill up.

    • #6
    • April 21, 2017 at 4:24 pm
    • Like4 likes
  7. Profile photo of tigerlily Member

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    HA HA! Number 11! as if someone today is filling up your car for you! They so missed that!

    Except in Oregon. I almost got yelled at by a hippie last year in Pendleton for trying to pump my own gas.

    Yeah, that is annoying – Oregon has a state law that prohibits self-serve gasoline. I suppose they thought they were saving jobs when they passed it; but, it just ends up making it take longer to gas up.

    • #7
    • April 21, 2017 at 5:35 pm
    • Like2 likes
  8. Profile photo of Seawriter Member

    Back 20 years ago I had taken a short break from aerospace (because it was too cyclic) and had become an e-commerce guru. (I can pick ’em, can’t I?) At the time in the run-up to Y2K we were doing a lot of Y2K preparedness training. Our basic message was it would not be an issue if you took a few basic and very cheap steps. I know that is not how you make money as a consultant, but I have never been one for making money by scaring people.

    The first slide in the body of my presentation was a collection of the most dire Y2K predictions. I would ask the audience what they thought. Then I put up the next slide, with the most apocalyptic predictions about the year 2000 I could find dating back to Earth Day 1970. The world would have so many people we would all starve. Except we would not starve because we would all be dead because of pollution. Except we would not die from pollution because we were going to run out of oil – and so on. It included some of the predictions in this list.

    Even then it was obvious none of these predictions would come true by 2000.

    Then I asked folks why they did not come true. Someone would always come back with “because we did something about it.” And then I went from there to talk about why Y2K would be a bust in terms of disaster predictions because everyone was going to do something in just the same way.

    Thank God for apocalyptic Progressivism. It made my job easier. After all, when the sky does not fall the fifteenth time after someone claims it will, people are more willing to believe the Progressive emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.

    Seawriter

    • #8
    • April 21, 2017 at 5:54 pm
    • Like14 likes
  9. Profile photo of Jules PA Member

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    HA HA! Number 11! as if someone today is filling up your car for you! They so missed that!

    Except in Oregon. I almost got yelled at by a hippie last year in Pendleton for trying to pump my own gas.

    And NJ. No self-serve there.

    • #9
    • April 21, 2017 at 5:56 pm
    • Like3 likes
  10. Profile photo of JL Inactive
    JL

    • #10
    • April 21, 2017 at 6:05 pm
    • Like14 likes
  11. Profile photo of kylez Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    HA HA! Number 11! as if someone today is filling up your car for you! They so missed that!

    And the statement is contradictory: there wouldn’t be any gas station to drive to, and apparently you wouldn’t be driving anyway.

    • #11
    • April 21, 2017 at 6:18 pm
    • Like7 likes
  12. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: “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

    Life Magazine would have been better served worrying about what was going to happen to Life Magazine in 1972.

    • #12
    • April 21, 2017 at 7:17 pm
    • Like19 likes
  13. Profile photo of Bob Wainwright Member

    I never even heard of Earth day until the early 90s. The reason it became so well known and popular at that time was because the Soviet Union had just failed. All the hopes of the leftists for some kind of world socialism were dashed when America’s adversary lost. So they needed another focus for their liberal dreams. I remember Earth day became a craze almost overnight after the Soviet Union went belly up. It was surreal and so obvious what was happening.

    • #13
    • April 21, 2017 at 8:03 pm
    • Like8 likes
  14. Profile photo of Cow Girl Thatcher

    Well, every problem they identified was worked on by people who saw that there was, in fact, a problem, and then went to work to fix, mitigate, work around, etc. Just like @seawriter said, “we did something about it.”

    That is what aggravates me the most about the climatistas, they just want to moan and wail, and their solutions are always ridiculous. We’ve fixed problems in the world before, and we can fix them again! But, we don’t need to fix things that aren’t broken.

    @Bob Wainwright–You’ve identified an important point: the wailers needed some new thing to rant about. Communism had imploded in the USSR and now they needed another focus for their opposition to conservative ideas.

    • #14
    • April 21, 2017 at 9:15 pm
    • Like3 likes
  15. Profile photo of Trinity Waters Thatcher

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    HA HA! Number 11! as if someone today is filling up your car for you! They so missed that!

    Not here in Oregon.

    • #15
    • April 21, 2017 at 9:27 pm
    • Like2 likes
  16. Profile photo of skipsul Moderator

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    HA HA! Number 11! as if someone today is filling up your car for you! They so missed that!

    Except in Oregon. I almost got yelled at by a hippie last year in Pendleton for trying to pump my own gas.

    Or Jersey.

    • #16
    • April 21, 2017 at 11:27 pm
    • Like2 likes
  17. Profile photo of Hartmann von Aue Member

    In addition to his other vices, Ehrlich welshed on that famous wager, If memory serves.

    • #17
    • April 22, 2017 at 12:52 am
    • Like2 likes
  18. Profile photo of cirby Member

    I was a Cub Scout during the first Earth Day. We had a bunch of pine seedlings that we planted on a highway embankment. I went back five years later, and they were all gone. Turns out planting trees on a highway embankment is a terrible idea, so they cut them all down a year after we planted them.

    One of the guys quoted above was a professor of mine when I studied environmental science in the late 70s – and is one of the big reasons I got out of environmental science in the late 70s. Everything was apocalyptic, and none of it was coming true. Even as an undergrad, I could see how they were bending the science to get the “right” results.

    • #18
    • April 22, 2017 at 4:16 am
    • Like7 likes
  19. Profile photo of Seawriter Member

    Cow Girl (View Comment):
    That is what aggravates me the most about the climatistas, they just want to moan and wail, and their solutions are always ridiculous.

    Well, yeah. If they were capable of critical thinking they would not be climatistas. That is also why all of their solutions are ridiculous. They always go after the most attractive sounding rather than the most practical because they are incapable of telling the difference.

    There is one exception to the rule they are incapable of critical thinking: there are a thin crust of them who are capable of critical thinking, and they have used that ability to determine how being a climate alarmist can make them very rich, indeed. These are not all of those getting rich over climate alarmism. After all, Al Gore failed to complete Harvard and divinity school at Vanderbilt. But several of the movement’s leaders are.

    Seawriter

    • #19
    • April 22, 2017 at 4:59 am
    • Like4 likes
  20. Profile photo of Instugator Thatcher

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):
    In addition to his other vices, Ehrlich welshed on that famous wager, If memory serves.

    According to this publication (wired magazine), cited by Wikipedia, Ehrlich did, in fact pay.

    • #20
    • April 22, 2017 at 5:35 am
    • Like1 like
  21. Profile photo of Hartmann von Aue Member

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):
    In addition to his other vices, Ehrlich welshed on that famous wager, If memory serves.

    According to this publication (wired magazine), cited by Wikipedia, Ehrlich did, in fact pay.

    I stand corrected. Thanks.

    • #21
    • April 22, 2017 at 5:58 am
    • Like2 likes
  22. Profile photo of Concretevol Thatcher

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    HA HA! Number 11! as if someone today is filling up your car for you! They so missed that!

    Except in Oregon. I almost got yelled at by a hippie last year in Pendleton for trying to pump my own gas.

    I think they still pump your gas in New Jersey as well…..not as an option but it’s mandatory. Weird

    • #22
    • April 22, 2017 at 6:12 am
    • Like2 likes
  23. Profile photo of Kozak Coolidge

    Well hell, whats a couple of degrees warmer in a century compared to that?

    Oh yeah, and one of the greatest hero’s of our age unlike those losers in the “Environmental Movement”…

    Normal Borlaug

    • #23
    • April 22, 2017 at 6:16 am
    • Like3 likes
  24. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher

    Kozak (View Comment):
    Well hell, whats a couple of degrees warmer in a century compared to that?

    Oh yeah, and one of the greatest hero’s of our age unlike those losers in the “Environmental Movement”…

    Normal Borlaug

    Beat me to it, @kozak. Dwarf wheat for the win!

    • #24
    • April 22, 2017 at 6:55 am
    • Like3 likes
  25. Profile photo of Richard Easton Member

    Kozak (View Comment):
    Well hell, whats a couple of degrees warmer in a century compared to that?

    Oh yeah, and one of the greatest hero’s of our age unlike those losers in the “Environmental Movement”…

    Normal Borlaug

    Yes, he received the National Medal of Science in the ceremony where my Dad received the National Medal of Technology.

    • #25
    • April 22, 2017 at 7:39 am
    • Like5 likes
  26. Profile photo of blood thirsty neocon Member

    I’m in favor of global warming. I’ve always wanted to live in a warm place by the sea, but didn’t have the money to do it. If present trends continue my little town in northern Indiana will be a bustling tropical resort town by 2030.

    • #26
    • April 22, 2017 at 8:14 am
    • Like5 likes
  27. Profile photo of Domer61 Member

    “By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…”

    Prof. Gunter was off by only 17 years. There is famine in South America. In Venezuela.

    • #27
    • April 22, 2017 at 9:05 am
    • Like7 likes
  28. Profile photo of Doug Kimball Member

    Mankind is prone to organizing paranoia. Perhaps it is some kind of innate factor that perpetuates because survival is more assured in numbers. But with this trait comes a more sinister tendency; that is the rejection of and retaliation against those who do not conform, those who reject the bogeyman theories, who choose independence over adherence to alliance and group-think. This makes sense as apostasy weakens the organizing dogma, hence the group’s coherence, which perpetuates the advantage in numbers.

    For those of us who believe that clear thinking, rational analysis, and independence are key to progress, we are constantly a threat to and threatened by those who would organize us. The proffers of these bogeymen theories benefit greatly from their cries of wolf (every paranoid loves a strongman.) Today’s global warming alarmist is yesterday’s environmentalist convinced of a coming ice age. They are the same breed of irrational nutcases crying wolf. That history proves them wrong is of no consequence.

    It is our job to resist, point to history and condemn them as those who take advantage of one of man’s worst tendencies.

    • #28
    • April 22, 2017 at 9:05 am
    • Like5 likes
  29. Profile photo of Doug Kimball Member

    Domer61 (View Comment):
    “By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…”

    Prof. Gunter was off by only 17 years. There is famine in South America. In Venezuela.

    And let’s not forget the other Totalitarian Left countries where the worst of progressivism has halted progress: Cuba and North Korea. The harder the left wing politics, the longer the breadlines.

    • #29
    • April 22, 2017 at 9:14 am
    • Like3 likes
  30. Profile photo of Jules PA Member

    Domer61 (View Comment):
    “By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…”

    Prof. Gunter was off by only 17 years. There is famine in South America. In Venezuela.

    Unrelated to climate or weather, but definitely created by man, yes?

    • #30
    • April 22, 2017 at 10:08 am
    • Like2 likes
  1. 1
  2. 2