It was the end of the world as we knew it and we never even noticed

In a classic sketch from the 1960s comedy revue, Beyond the Fringe, a group of doomsday cultists gather on a mountaintop, eagerly awaiting the end of the world. As the clock ticks past the appointed hour, the cult leader reassures his disappointed flock: ?Well, it’s not quite the conflagration I’d been banking on. Never mind, lads, same time tomorrow? we must get a winner one day?.

Environmentalism is another doomsday cult whose followers? enthusiasm for Armageddon never flags, no matter how many times they?re let down. With another Earth Day under our belt, it?s time to check some of the hilariously failed prophecies of eco-catastrophe of yore. 1970, to be exact. Quote:

Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that ?civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.? End of quote.

I must have slept through the End of Civilisation in 1985. But then, the world?s been about to end ever since I was a boy. You?re bound to get a bit blase about all those apocalypses, after a while. But, hey, who am I to question a Harvard biologist, any more than I would a climate scientist?

But, there?s no show without Punch: Quote.

?Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,? Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. ?The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.?

?Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,? wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled ?Eco-Catastrophe! ?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.?

Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the ?Great Die-Off.? End of quote.

Remember when billions of people starved to death in the 80s? It was worse than even Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go topping the charts. I blame Reagan and Thatcher, of course. Quote:

Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, ?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.? End of quote.

Sorry, New Zealand: looks like you weren?t spared those grim famine years. How Whaleoilers must miss bringing out their dead, like they did in the 2000s. And I didn?t even send you any food parcels, sorry. Quote:

In January 1970, Life reported, ?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?.? End of quote.

Of course, if you question the ?experimental and theoretical evidence? of scientists and their predictions, you?re just a big ol? denyin? denier. Remember the Ice Age of the 2000s? Just as well we had all those flannel shirts from the Grunge Rock fad. Quote:

Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. ?The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,? he declared. ?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.? End of quote.

Seriously, folks, read the whole article. The end of the world has never been funnier.

But don?t get too complacent: the world is totes for reals gonna end, like, any day now. O.M.G. Quote.

Climate preacher/scientist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez predicted recently that ?We?re like? the world is gonna end in 12 years if we don?t address climate change.? End of quote.

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