Posted by Curt on 4 February, 2014 at 9:15 pm. 3 comments already!


Donna Laframboise:

From 1948 to the present, environmental activists have declared that the sky is falling.


from David Suzuki’s 1990 ‘It’s a Matter of Survival’ (click for more)

We tend to ignore history in our daily lives. Which is too bad, because historical perspective is one of our best defenses against foolish ideas.

Once we realize that a long line of people have insisted, in recent decades, that we’re on the brink of environmental disaster, today’s climate doomsayers suddenly snap into perspective.

Absolutely nothing new is going on here. Today’s hysteria, exaggeration, and emotionally manipulative language are part of a larger pattern that stretches back decades.

Human society has always had its Chicken Littles, its risk-averse individuals, its glass-half-empty personalities, and its drama queens. Those people have every right to participate in societal discussions. But when we allow their voices to dominate, everyone loses. We end up wasting time and money pursuing illusory fixes to what may, in fact, be non-problems.

Let us, therefore, not be confused: Al Gore didn’t invent the idea of a “planetary emergency” with the publication of his 2006 book, An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About ItRather, he was repeating ideas that had been promulgated far and wide a full 60 years earlier.

In their illuminating paper, The Post War Intellectual Roots of the Population Bomb, Pierre Desrochers and Christine Hoffbauer examine two US bestsellers published in 1948. Remarkably, much of the rhetoric we hear today is contained within the pages of these books.

In Our Plundered Planet, Fairfield Osborn (who was born in 1887) talked about humanity’s “mounting destruction” of the natural world, said it posed a greater danger than the Second World War, and referred to “the day of atonement that is drawing nearer.”

Like today’s environmentalists, Osborn portrayed humanity as greedy and short-sighted. He also seemed more concerned about preserving the world for “future children” than in demonstrating empathy and compassion toward the impoverished souls who were already alive.

A few years later, he wrote a second, alarmist book, The Limits of the Earth, and then edited a third, titled Our Crowded Planet.

William Vogt, who was born in 1902, authored the other 1948 bestseller, Road to Survival. Wikipedia tells us Vogt was an ornithologist – a person who studies birds. But his involvement in conservation organizations led him to shift his focus to the environmental impact of human population growth.

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