Uncork the champagne on Earth Day to celebrate our amazing successes.
We Should Celebrate Earth Day
By: George Noga – April 18, 2021
Thursday is Earth Day which we always observe. Visit our website (www.mllg.us) to read our Earth Day posts from prior years. Since the first Earth Day in 1970, ersatz environmentalists have used the occasion to spread anxiety and to scare the bejesus out of people, especially children. It will be no different this year. In contrast, we present a fact-based and principled analysis of the environment, including climate change.
Michael Shelllenberger, the foremost environmentalist of our age, believes “There is more reason for optimism than pessimism about the environment”, a view we echo. Problems remain (some worrisome), but that shouldn’t detract from the incredible progress humanity has achieved since 1970 and continues to achieve today. Following are some of the amazing environmental gains we should celebrate this Earth Day.
Population: World population will peak circa 2060 and will be less than today within a century. Then it will continue its plunge to far lower levels and may never again increase as it is nearly impossible to increase fertility with an elderly population. Our biggest concern in the future will be population collapse, not overpopulation.
Climate Change: Climate alarmists worry about CO2 emissions in 100 years. As noted supra, in 100 years there will be fewer people and in 150 years Earth will be in the throes of a population collapse. If climate change is manmade, then a much smaller population will emit far less carbon than today, thereby totally solving climate change and without the need for humanity to take drastic actions or even to spend money.
Reforestation: The amount of farmland needed to sustain humanity already has peaked due to GMOs and increased productivity. One billion acres – nearly half the size of the US – will revert to nature by 2060. The global tree canopy has increased by one million square miles (Alaska and Montana combined) in the past 50 years. Global reforestation will remove from the atmosphere 30% of the CO2 from fossil fuels.
Natural Resources: Since 1980, 45 of 50 commodities studied are less expensive (adjusted for inflation), which means they are more plentiful relative to demand for them. The average price for all 50 commodities fell 35%. Mankind has never run out, or is in any danger of running out, of any non-renewal resource. Remember peak oil?
Overfishing: Aquaculture is supplying 50% of the fish consumed and is relieving the pressure on overfished wild stocks. Granting property rights to parts of the ocean incentivizes safeguarding fish stocks and avoiding the tragedy of the commons. Such privatizations, as in Iceland and New Zealand, have resulted in increasing fish stocks.
Rewilding: Currently 15% of the Earth’s land area is protected, such as in national parks; also, 7% of marine areas are protected. As the population collapses in the future, giant swaths of our planet will be rewilded and return to a pristine state.
Peak Gasoline: We reached peak gas in 2019 prior to the pandemic. Gas usage is declining due to more EVs and Covid-related changes like working from home.
Other Metrics: Nearly every metric of environmental well-being is the best it has been in 50-100 years and is getting better; these include: ambient air quality, streams suitable for swimming and fishing, oil spills, wastewater treatment and timber growth. There is one environmental problem getting worse, i.e. ocean plastics pollution.
Martin Luther King did not give an “I have a nightmare” speech.
In the runup to Earth Day the media won’t report any of the astounding environmental successes described supra. All you will hear are environmental nightmares. You don’t make the world better by ignoring real progress, dwelling (often counterfactually) on how terrible things might become and scaring our children to death. As Shelllenberger notes, Martin Luther King did not give a “I have a nightmare” speech.
Earth Day 2021 provides an occasion to celebrate mankind’s many environmental successes, while not ignoring legitimate remaining problems. Readers should do two things. First, forward this post to your children and grandchildren who may be petrified by what they hear and see. Second, uncork a bottle of champagne and celebrate!
Next week we touch on several topics – beginning with your breakfast.