Ever since the first Earth Day in 1970 environmental writers have been predicting apocalyptic disasters. By my count none of these have happened. Take a guess why? I submit that capitalism is great for the environment. Forget silly notions like turning out the lights for an hour…literally taking us back to the dark ages. Just support commerce and human ingenuity.
The trends from back then haven’t changed, in fact everything they said would destroy us has increased and yet things are better than they have been in 50 years. Population is still growing, more cars are on the road, lots of SUVs that didn’t exist before, more oil is being burned, more rainforest cut down, more cattle raised, more beef eaten, more water being used; all by at least an order of magnitude. Yet market tech just found a way to do all that and still avoid extinction. .. In fact our air contains 60% fewer pollutants than it did in 1970 and once unusable bodies of water are now clean.
Just look around. Wealthy capitalist(ish) countries are clean and green while poor socialist countries are environmental disasters. The way to keep making the environment better around the globe is to keep supporting free market economics and expanded democratic access. That said, let’s look at a few of the ways we were all supposed to have died by now.
- “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” proclaimed Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day. 6. Ehrlich wrote in 1970 that between 1980 and 1989, over 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”
- “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, a North Texas State University professor, 1970
- “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 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.
- “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” and 200,000 Americans will die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles. – Paul Ehrlich
- “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 told Time that,
- “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.
- “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.” – Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich.