Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘earth day’

Revisiting the first Earth Day

Posted by Richard on April 22, 2014

On this Earth Day, Mark J. Perry looked back at the apocalyptic predictions made around the first Earth Day in 1970. Describing them as “spectacularly wrong” seems like an understatement. If even a few of the 18 he cites had come true, third-world populations would have plummeted, countless westerners would have been killed by pollution, most of the world’s plants and animals would be extinct, and the human race would be well on its way extinction as well. Oh, and Canadians would be fleeing south to escape the advancing ice sheets that would eventually make much of the northern hemisphere uninhabitable.

Instead, the Norman Borlaugh-led “green revolution” (yes, genetically modified organisms) virtually eliminated famine everywhere except where strife and government policies create it. Modest market reforms in India, China, and a handful of other places have lifted well over a billion people out of poverty. Life expectancies have gone up. As Julian Simon predicted, all the resources that the doomsayers said we were running out of have become cheaper and more abundant. And increasing wealth has made the environment much cleaner, as it always does.

But that doesn’t stop today’s Cassandras from making dire predictions about the grim fate that awaits us over the next 44 years. You can just as safely laugh at them as at the predictions from 1970.

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