With the founding of Earth Day on April 22, 1970 by the late Senator Gaylord Nelson, environmentalists created a rallying point. No one can dispute that there were and are real environmental issues to address. What has become alarming is the method of influence and goals proposed by climate change alarmists.
As man is a rational being, it stands to reason that decisions to do, or not do something rest upon objective evidence and sound reason; qualities often absent from the environmental debate today. The constant barrage of exaggerated hype, dutifully repeated by the media and now propped up by the credibility of some clerics, has failed dismally to convince the public of the doomsday predictions.
A quick review of the barrage of hyperbole fed to the public in the last four in a half decades would be sufficient to convince anyone with common sense that the environmental movement has been consistently off target in their cataclysmic predictions and flawed solutions.
Global cooling was the scare for the seventies as environmentalists claimed that man-made pollution was darkening the skies and sunlight was unable to warm the planet, thus causing the conditions for a new ice age. To bolster this already emotional appeal with what appeared to be scientific evidence, UC Davis ecology professor Kenneth Watt told students at Swarthmore College in 1970, “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.”1
Another harbinger spread by liberals is the threat of overpopulation. The dire scenario that has been painted claimed that if mankind did not curb population, all would starve since there would not be sufficient resources to sustain the planet at the current rate of growth. Harvard biologist George Wald warned in 1970 “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”2
Such claims have simply not materialized. Alarmist may point out that population growth from 1820 to 2010 increased 627 percent from 1.1 billion to 6.9 billion, the sharpest increase of any time period. This might seem unsustainable at first glance. However, the same naysayers fail to mention that industrialized nations have increased the global GDP by 1,300 percent during the same period by using the most precious resource, human intelligence.3
Thus, overpopulation is an argument that is both false and malicious as it also serves to bolster the case for birth control and abortion. If there is a population issue today, it is the lack of growth that is threatening to destroy societies and economies that suffer increasingly aging populations without replacements. According to CIA World Factbook’s 2014 report, 122 out of 224 countries suffer a negative birth rate.4
Another popular myth is that of peak oil. Kenneth Watt made another unfounded prediction. “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.’”5
The worldwide glut of oil has shown such predictions to be false and again that technologies like fracking have solved the problem in unforeseen ways. The theory of peak oil promoted by environmentalists is no longer taken seriously. As always, the solution came from human ingenuity not government environmental regulations.
The latest alarmist claim is global warming where they allege it is man-made and offer impractical solutions. Environmentalists are pushing for renewable energy such as solar and wind that are both expensive and unreliable. Most important, they insist upon advancing their narrative saying that it is man-made and causing poverty without conclusive proofs. In addition they promote emotional appeals based on half-truths.
The profound imbalance found in the radical environmental movement can be summed up in the following statement; “Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth’s biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense.”6 This is a quote from the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement that, like many environmental movements, puts the earth first and mankind last. Such environmentalism has no interest in fixing the environmental challenges, but rather prefers the extermination of humanity.
Much of the hysteria over global cooling, resource depletion, mass starvation, overpopulation and global warming is not derived from science but aims at manipulating public opinion through contrived crises to accept a narrative that condemns humanity itself. The biggest lesson one can take from earth day is that emotional appeals do not have a good record and would best be based on facts. And so, another Earth Day has come and gone, along with its latest apocalyptic predictions.