"Earth Day 1970 provoked a torrent of apocalyptic predictions. "We have about five more years at the outside to do something," ecologist Kenneth Watt declared to a Swarthmore College audience on April 19, 1970. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that "civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." "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 in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment. The day after Earth Day, even the staid New York Times editorial page warned, "Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction."
Here are just a couple of predictions that somehow failed to manifest:
“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, Ecologist
“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….”
• Life Magazine, January 1970
Earth Day seems to have come and gone this year and finding myself still here, I wonder if the doom purveyors have looked into their mirrors. I'm picturing them all walking around with their mouths agape and their eyes in perpetual wide-eyed amazement, for they are seeing life they predicted would be long gone. I wonder if they ever get tired of trying to scare the living daylights out of their fellow human beings. I wonder, too, if they would spend half as much time devising ways of human adaptation to the environmental ebbs and flows, wouldn't they be a happier bunch of people?
So Earth Day came and went. I was left here on the planet.... thinking about how wonderful life is and that natural law will have its way no matter what. As for the doomsayers, may their nonsense be the one thing that fails to survive.
For a live look at three eaglets and their parents in their nest in Iowa, GO HERE I dare you to be gloomy after watching them for even a few minutes!