I'm a-tellin' ya....

We don’t really want to go off on Earth Day, because we think it’s a fine idea to spend one day calling attention to the fact that sooner or later we’re going to use this world up. Because no matter how hard we try to cut emissions, use less energy and wash less clothing, there’s no way we’re going cut enough to make up for what the Chinese and Indians plan on adding, short of drop-kicking our entire nuclear arsenal in their direction. Our only realistic savior is better technology, which has helped us avert most of the catastrophes projected by the constant cascade of Cassandras afflicting the earth since — since — okay, Cassandra.

So we salute our friends at I Hate The Media, a blog that seems somehow remarkably in tune with The Daily Cannibal, who have released a coompendium of predictions made in 1970 on the first Earth Day. Below is a sampling, but read the whole thing.

“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
• George Wald, Harvard Biologist

“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.”
• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“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, Stanford University biologist

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.”
• Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day

“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.”
• Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University

“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

“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.’”
• Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

“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.”
• Sen. Gaylord Nelson

“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

Well, the last one particularly interesting, isn’t it? Do the folks at the University of East Anglia know about this?

Nor should our snarky tone here be misinterpreted to mean that we encourage pollution, waste and bad behavior. What we don’t encourage are ravening greedheads torturing data into unrecognizable shapes in order to play out their dominatrix fantasies, meddle with everyone’s lives and achieve that satisfying feeling of smug superiority that comes with encouraging ecological self-flagellation.

So listen carefully to the mournful tones and sober dicta of this year’s crop of forecasters. Jump through their little hoops. Dance to their dirges. Take three minute showers. Buy a Prius. Because you can make a difference. After all, floods start with a single raindrop. Be that drop. Save the planet.