The impending ice age foreshadowed by scientists, politicians and hippies on the first Earth Day in 1970 never actually came to fruition. If you haven’t noticed, our planet is not completely frozen over, and we don’t currently live in igloos. But the failed predictions made about global cooling in the 1970s have been conveniently swept under the rug to make way for a slightly different issue that also requires immediate and collective action — global warming.
In the late 1980s, environmental activists wielded the power of apocalyptic rhetoric to scare the public into fearing global warming and its disastrous consequences. The most ardent warrior pushing global warming was NASA scientist Dr. James Hanson.
In 1988, Hanson testified before Congress he was 99 percent certain the years’ record temperatures were not natural. It was the first time a scientist claimed a connection between human activity and the warming of the planet. Hanson confidently warned reporters after the hearing, “It’s time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here.”
Hanson made many predictions in the late ’80s, like New York experiencing such drastic droughts restaurants would have signs saying, “Water by Request Only.” The only glitch was that the 1990s turned out to be the most drought-free decade in U.S. history. In actuality, none of Hanson’s predictions have come to pass. Despite his failed prophecies, Hanson is revered by the scientific community to this day, and he continues his stale warning.
Hanson isn’t the only person who has made a career based on environmental fear mongering. Al Gore has done it for years, and is quite skilled at scaring people into action. A decade ago, Gore declared that without drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases, the world would reach a point of no return. Well, over ten years have passed. Have we reached planetary emergency levels? No. Surely Al Gore’s other prediction that the Arctic may be ice-free by now has come true. No, the opposite is true. Satellite photos of the Arctic taken by NASA in August 2013 show a 60 percent increase in the polar ice sheet.
Politicians seem to be experts when it comes to using environmental scare tactics to their advantage. Take President Obama’s declaring climate change as a “primary national security threat.” If we make any predictions this Earth Day, it would be this: Apocalyptic predictions about the environment are here to stay. It’s up to that “vermin” — or what we would call humans — to decide whether to believe them or not.