Being a better steward of the plant is commendable, but political rhetoric has proven to be just that

I was cleaning out a bunch of stuff recently when I came across a file. It was dated March through April, 1970, and contained many predictions and quotes from many noted (so-called) scientists, environmentalists and news magazines of that time period. 

I found it both frightening and hilariously funny. But you be the judge.

Earth Day was first organized on April 22, 1970. The inaugural festivities predicted massive death, destruction and disease unless we did exactly as the supporters (“progressives” one and all) commanded. The following quotes are from Earth Day 1970.

“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” (Harvard biologist George Wald)

Well, that prediction is now 47 years old, and civilization is still with us. At least it was the last time I checked.

Here’s another. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” (Washington University biologist Barry Commoner)

As far as I can see, this world, at least the part we live in here in New York, is still quite a suitable place for human habitation.

Some newspapers jumped in with their own editorial opinions. “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” (New York Times editorial) 

Talk about extreme rhetoric, and from that old gray lady, no less.

But wait! Some of these predictions get even better. 

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” (Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich) 

Say what? And from a biologist, too.

Here is one of my favorites. 

“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born? (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.” (Paul R. Ehrlich, noted population biologist) 

Well, it is now the decade of the 2010’s, and world hunger is not significantly greater than it was in 1970.

Some of the so-called experts went even farther. 

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.” (Denis Hayes, who was the chief organizer for Earth Day) 

Unfortunately for Denis, just the opposite has occurred. Except for spotty incidents of starvation most often associated with local occurrences of drought, there is no foreseeable danger of mass starvation happening any time soon.

Here is my other favorite. 

“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.” (Life magazine) 

With unfounded, feather-brained predictions like that, is it any wonder that Life Magazine went belly-up in 2000?

I could go on and on with “quotes” similar to these, with some being even more dire if that is possible. But the point of my column should be clear. 

Our overall environment, both locally and on a world-wide basis, is changing in its own normal way. It has always been changing, which is why there were ice ages and warm periods such as the Holocene Climate Optimum. But human-induced global warming, er, I mean climate change, is nothing more than a socialist’s dream for obtaining and controlling more political power.

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“The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that the agency is adopting a regulatory proposal to revise the special permit requirement for bobcat hunting and trapping. Upon completion of the Bobcat Management Plan in 2012, regulations were adopted to establish a hunting and trapping season in select Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) in central and western New York, referred to as the “Harvest Expansion Area” (HEA).

In areas open to bobcat hunting and trapping, individuals are required to have a license and to have the animal “pelt sealed” (i.e., have a plastic tag affixed by DEC staff) after harvest. However, to hunt or trap bobcats in the HEA, licensed hunters and trappers were also required to obtain a free “special permit” from their regional wildlife office.”

While the wildlife biologist part of my brain tells me this is an acceptable management tool, the “human” part of my brain is against expanding the area where bobcats can be harvested. These unique critters are only now becoming established across Western New York. They have a long way to go before their numbers reach any kind of saturation point. Therefore (personally) I would like to see at the very least a few more years of no bobcat hunting and/or trapping.

The new bobcat hunting and trapping regulations can be viewed on DEC’s website and the Notice of Adoption for the revised regulation can be viewed in the New York State Register.

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This past June a  DEC fisheries biologist visited Fall Creek in Ithaca, a tributary of Cayuga Lake. She observed several 5 to 6 foot long lake sturgeons congregating near the Lake Avenue Bridge in what is hoped will be a regular spawning run. 

The DEC has been periodically stocking sturgeon fingerlings into Cayuga Lake since 1995 in an attempt to re-establish a population there. This is the first time biologists have detected sturgeon in Fall Creek. The fish may have been helped by the unusually high water this year. 

The biologist’s visit followed reports by anglers observing spawning sturgeon there. Lake sturgeon is a NY State threatened species, and fishing for them is prohibited.

Len Lisenbee is the Daily Messenger’s outdoor writer. Contact him at