Yup, it’s Earth Day today. (Also Lenin’s birthday, but I am sure it is just a coincidence.) I know you can’t contain your excitement. But try.
As always, today is a good day to check in with Mark Perry’s list of 18 predictions made on the first Earth Day in 1970 that have all proven spectacularly wrong. My favorite:
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.”
But the experts agreed “almost unanimously”! It was settled science. A consensus even.
Even the left finds the day more than a little glum just now though that’s because the world hasn’t ended yet. Remember—end-of-the-world doomsday scenarios make environmentalists happy, so when the end of the world fails to arrive on schedule, they get the sads.
Like The New Republic, which asks this week:
A person could be forgiven for being cynical about Earth Day in 2022. Even ExxonMobil celebrates the holiday. . . ExxonMobil doing Earth Day is a lot like arms and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin co-opting International Women’s Day—a holiday which began as a protest of capitalism and war. . .
Many contemporary defenders of the planet despise Earth Day. In fact, at this point the hatred is an annual ritual, observed with headlines like “I’m an Environmental Scientist and I Hate Earth Day,” “I’m an Environmental Journalist and I Hate Earth Day,” and “I’m an Environmentalist and I Hate Earth Day.”
The author’s answer? More “mass protest.” Cue Greta Thunberg.
And concerning that corporate Earth Day particpation, Ben Zycher’s annual Earth Day column, which, by his own admission, is snarkier than usual, takes note of this as well:
And — of course — there will be the usual shameless groveling by a long queue of spineless corporate officials and public relations gasbags desperate to advertise their environmental bona fides so that the green alligators might eat them last.
Consensus at last!