Today In History: Environmental Predictions made for 1970 Earth Day

Earth day

Today marks the anniversary of the first Earth Day (originally taking place in 1970).

The following somewhat alarming predictions were made, to swat public opinion and to justify a perveived need to roll back free markets, increase spending, laws and regulations.

  1. Life magazine reported, “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….”

  2. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

  3. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in his 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

  4. Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

  5. Writing for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.

  6. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

  7. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “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.’”

  8. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

  9. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

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No wonder so many look at hard core environmentalists as kooks.

so the policies that were implemented avoided (partially) those grim scenarios? good, i guess.

Everything is fine. The AEI found some people who were wrong, so we can just trust in ExxonMobile and Shell not to destroy the environment.

Well, on the other (soon to be closed) Hannity forum people are bumping lots of old threads, including prediction threads.

Anyone wanna make an environmental prediction today?

I predict nothing much is going to change environmentally over the next hundred years. That is if we even have 100 years before God decides it is time for the second coming.

I predict nothing will be done in this country to address Climate Change and the younger generations will have to deal with the consequences of that inaction.

you mean the same Shell that predicted the dangers of climate change in the 80’s and knew that the fossil fuel industry was partially responsible for it? that Shell?

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Yup, that Shell. Everything is fine.

The dire predictions of today will come to the same end as those listed in 1970. :rofl:

what is the value of your prediction? do you work/study in the environment field?

It’s an opinion. Just like yours or anybody else’s. The so called experts from 1970 did a real bang up job of predicting eh?

As the scriptures say the way you know someone is a false prophet is when their prophesies don’t come true.

i’ve stated many times that i’ve taken no side on Climate Change (simply because I don’t know enough about it).

but, man, the more we find out about old studies within the oil industry the more this thing feels like what played out in the tobacco industry.

not all opinions have the same value.

the nitpicked predictions above have not come true also because changes were made to prevent them.

the funny (sad) thing is that today you have places in this planet were you need a mask when going outside, millions die annually due to pollution, millions don’t have drinking water, plants and animals are being extinct at an alarming rate, and so on.

all of it showing that more work needs to be done to address the issues.

You might be right on both counts.

The last time I undertook a serious inquiry of global warming was circa 2001, before the Hadley CRU got caught hand picking its oeer reviewers and stacking the deck of articles for the IPCC to review.

At that time the IPCC was predicting oceans will rise 15 inches in a hundred years, (must be 8or 90 years from TODAY), and self-styled “environmentalists” were ‘exaggerating’ those into an end to the earth and the Statue of Liberty up to her waste in seawater and such nonsense.
Inevitably those “environmentalusrs” seemed to have started their political ideas with views on racism or corporations etc. and simply decided eco-alarmism fut into their preconceived worldview.

I worked with a tiny but locally student radio show and had NO TROUBLE finding guests for the show who were college professors, basically experts to come on the program and say in effect “AGW is true but what these nut jobs are saying about it is politically-motivated hooey.”

I assume if I were still working in radio it would be just as easy to do it today,

Where are millions dying from pollution? It isn’t happening. :rofl:

p,s, the reason those 1970 predictions didn’t come true is because they were kooky predictions.


I predict Al Gore’s net worth of 300 million will increase to at least 400 million before he passes away. Not bad for a failed candidate.

after Y2K a ton of people said it was a hoax. it pissed me off for one specific reason.

i had tasked staff to take decommissioned equipment (we sell expensive stuff) and bring them up to date (just like a lot of the stuff still in the field) and test them with future dates. they found major issues and reported back to me. we addressed those issues, came up with solutions and by the time the clocked ticked to the problem “second”, we had already addressed everything. worked our asses off and idiots (who had no idea of the actual details) were saying it was all a conspiracy (not unlike what Alex Jones does these days).

Failed candidate with failed global warming ideas.