It’s the End of the World as We Know It, and I Feel Fine

Things were grim when I was growing up in the 1960’s. Natural resources were being depleted at an alarming rate, DDT was causing mass extinctions, pollution was destroying the ecosystem, and the time when the planet’s petroleum supply would run out was in sight. All the experts agreed that we were doomed in 50 years. I had maybe five decades in front of me to live a relatively normal life before things fell apart. After that, the natural resources that humanity depended on to survive would be completely gone.

So how do we fare now that 40 years have passed?

According to the WWF, things are grim. Our end times are in sight. We have maybe 45 years before the natural resources that humanity depends on for survival are completely gone.

I find myself unable to work up any sense of urgency. I wonder why this is so?

17 thoughts on “It’s the End of the World as We Know It, and I Feel Fine”

  1. Ha. Yeah, me neither. I guess it’s because we were so much more intelligent back when we were kids and had no experience of life.

  2. Why is the World Wrestling Federation commenting on ecology? ;-)

    Considering how big the performers are in the wrestling ring, I bet they eat more than their fair share. That is why they are so concerned about resource depletion, I’m thinkin’.


  3. One of the ‘virtues’ of growing up with the idiot box, in the 50s and 60s, is that we were subjected to endless hours of commercials. Those little poxes of capitalism. However, like a vaccination in which a much reduced version of the pathogen is induced into the body creating anti-bodies, the commercials developed within us an intellectual immunity response to hucksters, whether they were pedaling cereals, toys, or the latest technology. The propaganda methodology of the doom-sayers is basically the same. Hype, hype, hype. The experience of finding out the ‘product’ as advertised is not delivered whether it is the ‘heartbreak of psoriasis’ or Bambi’s sacred wooden grove [where she can spread lime disease to your pets and children] is nothing new. What it does however do is to permit you to tell the difference between those who’ve grown up into an adult world and those who still decades later suffer from arrested adolescence. Congratulations, you have avoided the latter. Unfortunately, that is the very reason they seek to literally scare the children through their active agents in your school systems. You can be assured the message will make its appearance in those classrooms as we write.

  4. True. And you can eat twenty-eight Big Macs a day when you are 25 and still wonder why they told you it was bad for your health for a few many years. You might get your answer when you walk into the operating room for a cuadruple-bypass when you reach 45. But if you enjoy living a denial’s world, you can sit back and wait for ‘urgency’ to reach you.

  5. John,

    You’d think those wrestlers would be a bit more circumspect considering how their consuming the world’s folding chairs at such a prodigious rate. What are the world’s dispossessed going to sit on once the wrestlers have broken all the folding chairs over each other’s backs? I wonder how many Global Hectacres of precious folding chair resources (not to mention funky hair products) those bastids each consume.

  6. Don,

    Exactly. Brings to mind a cute little story from when my oldest was just a tyke. One day she was with My Better Two-thirds in the grocery store and just had to have a bottle of Prell shampoo. My wife indulged her since we were nearly out of shampoo.

    Lil’ Darlin came home, snarfed up her Prell bottle, and dashed off to wash her hair. She came running out of the bath a while later in tears. “They lied! My hair isn’t like the commercial showed! Look! It’s the same as it was before!”

    Betrayal. Perhaps the world’s best teacher.

  7. I went all the way through forestry school and a 34 year career as a forester being told we were running out of timber (and later entire forests and, most recently, just old growth) and, try as we might, we just couldn’t bring it off—AND WE WORKED ON IT FOR OVER A HUNDRED YEARS!! None of it. More trees now than in 1900. More acres of forests. New old growth coming on line every day. Put me down for “I ain’t buying any of it.”

  8. Oh, yes, I remember all the popular press gloom n’doom scenarios going around when I was in junior high school. I think that the first blow I ever struck against this kind of idiotarianism was when a friend of mine came to me, all in a twitter about how we were doomed, doomed I say, because the European Union (or whatever name that misbeguided assortment of nations went by in the late 1960ies) replicated the Roman Empire, and so it was doomed! Doomed! Well, this particular friend was a certifiable idiot, although I think most 13 year olds are. I don’t think it gave her any particular comfort when I pointed out that, no, actually, a number of key members of the EU had never actually been part of the Roman Empire. And quite a fair amount of the current nations occuping space taken up by the Roman Empire were not EU members.
    Well, she was an idiot. But I wasn’t. First time I ever took my education into the jousts of popular delusions and the madness of crowds. I really felt good about that.

  9. BTW, it should be mentioned. If I read the article correctly, and I think I did, that loon from the WWF didn’t claim we’ll have consumed all our planet’s resources by 2050. He claimed we’ll need at least 2 planet’s worth of resources by 2050. Presumably that means we’ll have exhausted our one planet’s worth well before 2050.

    Why question now is, “Why wasn’t the dope laughed at and jeered off whatever stage he was on?” Oh, yeah, I know. People get heartattacks from too many cheeseburgers so clearly we should pay serious attention to morons spouting gibberish. That’s the ticket!

  10. He claimed we’ll need at least 2 planet’s worth of resources by 2050. Presumably that means we’ll have exhausted our one planet’s worth well before 2050.

    I think the author was trying to say that at our present rate of ever increasing consumption, we would use all our planet’s output and need at least as much more.

    The whole idea behind these guys is that technology is bad. Punish and demonize those who have modern technology while worshipping those who live ankle deep in cowflop and die when they are 35 from disease, malnutrition and overwork. They aren’t trying to urge us to find new sources of supplies, they want us to give up what we have and live in the muck. And we better get to it real soon or else we are in trouble.

    It is the logical extension of the idea of the noble savage. You can’t have nobility unless you have villainy to strive against. We are the villains.



  11. James,

    I think you underestimate these loons. They don’t want us all to simply stop technology and become short-lived hunter-gatherers.

    They want massive death and destruction of human beings. And they want it NOW!, yesterday would be better. They want billions of people dead. If the salafists nuked a western, preferrably US, city and killed a few hundred thousand people they’d dance like TO in the endzone. Even better would be a massive meteor slamming into Kansas. Savin’ Gaia.

  12. I’m guessing they changed their name from the World Wildlife Fund as the pandas just weren’t bringing in enough cash. They could see more money in peddling the FoE/Greenpeace line. Trebles all round!

  13. The crazy guy on the street with a beard, old dirty clothes and a sign saying “the end is near” got a job with the WWF and cleaned up his act. Now, instead of standing on the street with a sign he publishes his predictions of doom and gloom in the media. He went corporate.

  14. Running out of Resources. Sounds familiar. Swine Flu 1974, Pollution 1960+, DDT, Overpopulation late 1960s, Nuclear War, Asteroids hitting th Earth 1990s, Super Bugs that antibiotics cannot kill, Nuclear Winter 1980s, The coming Ice Age 1970s, Electromagnetic Fields and cancer, Deforestation of the Amazon in the 1990s, Ozone Holes, Alar on Apples, Ebola viruses, of course Y2K, Global Warming, and just last month in the local paper Running out of Fresh water here in Chicago on the shore of Lake Michigan….

    Me, I am not worrying, the Avian Flu will get us all long before 2050.

    Seriously, how much money does the WWF want?

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