Friday, April 24, 2009

Earth Day follow-up

Couldn't leave it alone, could I?

Via the Urbin Report and Ed Driscoll, via Steven Den Beste, here's Ronald Bailey in Reason, back in 2000:

Earth Day, Then and Now

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." Very Apocalypse Now.

Three decades later, of course, the world hasn't come to an end; if anything, the planet's ecological future has never looked so promising. With half a billion people suiting up around the globe for Earth Day 2000, now is a good time to look back on the predictions made at the first Earth Day and see how they've held up and what we can learn from them. The short answer: The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong.
Paul Ehrlich, who collaborated with Obama science advisor John Holdren, is prominently mentioned. Much more at the link, RTWT.

Also at Urbin Report, George Carlin on "Saving the Planet." NSFW because of language.

1 comment:

Mystery Mi said...

I love(d) George Carlin.