Five Environmental Crises That Have Come And Gone
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
What do extreme environmentalists do when their claims of looming catastrophe are shown to be unscientific or even ridiculous? They either abandon their current claim and find another cause to scare the public or they change the name of the fright they’re peddling.
Consider this. We no longer hear of “acid rain” destroying crops and other vegetation. “Ozone depletion” was supposed to cause cataclysmic increases in human cancer and more – but there is no mention of it today. Another bygone scourge known as “deforestation” had its share of frightening publicity, but we hear it no more. Another great worry aimed at the public was “overpopulation” and it, too, is no longer being marketed as a significant threat. Then, “auto emissions” became the target of those who insisted the automobile did far more harm than good.
Now we are supposedly being victimized by “climate change,” the most dire environmental problem ever to plague mankind, according to scaremongering environmentalists and sloppy journalists. Climate change was formerly known as global warming. When competent scientists poked big holes in the global warming propaganda, its leading advocates arranged the name change. We are now told that rising temperatures caused by human activity warms the planet, will melt polar ice, cause a significant rise in sea levels, and put dry coastal areas under water.
The history compiled by environmentalist scaremongers isn’t something they should be proud of. Acid rain had been named as the killer of spruce trees in Vermont and elsewhere. When a group of scientists went to see this calamity, they had to fight their way through healthy young spruce trees in order to find those dead or dying. But their search proved fruitless because there were none. Ozone depletion was going to cause skin cancer, cataracts, and damage to mankind’s immune system. The main culprit was chlorofluorocarbons used in air conditioners, as a cleaning agent for electronic parts, and more. Soon, the claims about the ozone hole disappeared but not until expensive studies showed the concerns to be absurd.
Deforestation of the Brazilian rain forest became an environmental cause in the early 1980s. But when the UN’s World Bank was found to be the financier of a 900-mile road-building project right through the forest, pressure for terminating it succeeded and the rain forest was left to grow naturally. Overpopulation then became the environmental cause d’jour.
Famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau wrote in the November 1991 UNESCO Courier, “In order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it’s just as bad not to say it.” Fast forward several decades and demographers in various countries are now worried about declining birth rates. Overpopulation is no longer being discussed.
In 2014, climatologist Dr. Patrick Michaels, formerly of the University of Virginia and currently the leader of Cato Institute’s Center for the Study of Science, provided data showing “no significant warming trend in surface average temperature for 18 consecutive years.” At MIT in Massachusetts, Dr. Richard Lindzen became nationally known as a “climate skeptic.” Over at Harvard University, Dr. Willie Soon has paralleled Lindzen’s skepticism and angered the climate change partisans. But numerous former believers have moved into the camp of the skeptics. They all concede that temperatures will rise and fall; they don’t concede that humans are the cause.
More than sloppy science is at work here. Even before he was Secretary of State (2013-2017), John Kerry beat the climate change drum. In 2015, he pontificated, “When science tells us that our climate is changing and human beings are largely causing that change, by what right do people stand up and say ‘I dispute that’ or ‘I deny that elementary truth?’” He claims climate change is a more serious threat than terrorism, poverty, and weapons of mass destruction. Because of climate change, he wants government restrictions placed on people. His goal, easily known by studying his career, is a world government run by him and others like him.
If the people become aware that the claims of climate change advocates are pure nonsense, even dangerous nonsense, Kerry and his ilk will come up with some other scheme to frighten people into giving up their freedoms. We should make sure they don’t get away with it. Join The John Birch Society today to take action!
Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.