The humanist’s anti-human agenda relied on the most persuasive of all arguments: do as I say or you are going to die. Nelson announced in that 1970 Senate speech, “Reasonable scientists have predicted that accelerating rates of air pollution could become so serious by the 1980s that many people may be forced on the worst days to wear breathing helmets to survive outdoors.” He cited Paul Ehrlich, whom he calls an “eminent California ecologist,” to the effect that the oceans would be poisoned out of life within a few decades. He repeats the head of the Smithsonian’s warning that by 1995 three-quarters of the animal species in existence would become extinct. Strangely, Nelson expected listeners to believe that there would be less of us if we wouldn’t accept that there should be less of us.
One might dismiss the Senator’s early ’70s enthusiasms as a man caught up in the zeitgeist if his public pronouncements hadn’t grown increasingly crankish. “What will America be like when the population doubles from about 280 million to over 520 million within the next 75 to 80 years or sooner?,” Nelson asked at a September 20, 2001 speech at Michigan State. “If we permit that to happen, it will have a dramatic and pervasive impact on almost all aspects of our living condition.”
The world’s population on the forty-third Earth Day is double the world’s population on the first Earth Day. Rather than ushering in Doomsday, more people have meant a more livable Earth. Life expectancy rates in the U.S. have ballooned by about ten years for men and women since the first Earth Day. Other parts of the world have experienced even greater gains. Revolutions in travel and communications have made the globe a smaller ball. Farming techniques opposed by extreme environmentalists have shifted the conversation from “Will we have enough to eat?” to “Will we eat what’s healthy?” The more, the merrier.
An Earth Day that celebrates mankind would be an Earth Day worth celebrating. One that mourns people is an Earth Day worth skipping.
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