In honor of Earth Day, Walter Williams has some interesting past predictions that didn’t quite hit the strike zone:
At the first Earth Day celebration, in 1969, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned, “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.”
C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said, “The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.”
In 1968, professor Paul Ehrlich, former Vice President Al Gore’s hero and mentor, predicted that there would be a major food shortage in the U.S. and “in the 1970s . . . hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.”
Ehrlich forecast that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980 and 1989, and that by 1999 the U.S. population would have declined to 22.6 million.
Ehrlich’s predictions about England were gloomier: “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”
In 1972, a report was written for the Club of Rome warning that the world would run out of gold by 1981, mercury and silver by 1985, tin by 1987 and petroleum, copper, lead and natural gas by 1992.
Gordon Taylor, in his 1970 book “The Doomsday Book,” said Americans were using 50% of the world’s resources and “by 2000 they (Americans) will, if permitted, be using all of them.”
In 1975, the Environmental Fund took out full-page ads warning, “The World as we know it will likely be ruined by the year 2000.”
Harvard biologist George Wald in 1970 warned, “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” That was the same year that Sen. Gaylord Nelson warned, in Look magazine, that by 1995 “somewhere between 75% and 85% of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”
Oh, so close…