Earth Day Founders Knew Little

Floor Speech

Date: May 15, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GROTHMAN. Madam Speaker, in all the hubbub over the significant legislation and the debt limit last week, I think this body let the founding of Earth Day pass.

Of course, the father of Earth Day was none other than Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. I am sure all of Wisconsin's little schoolchildren are taught that.

Given that we are celebrating the 73rd anniversary of Earth Day, I think we should go back and look at what some of the founders of Earth Day said at that time.

Gaylord Nelson said that within 25 years of the first Earth Day, which was in 1970, 75 to 80 percent of the species of the Earth would be extinct.

Paul Ehrlich, biologist and author of the best-selling book ``The Population Bomb,'' predicted that 100 to 200 million people would be starving per year in the 1980s and that 65 million Americans would die in the 1980s.

George Wald, a well-known Harvard biologist, predicted that civilization would end within 15 to 30 years unless action was taken quickly.

Barry Commoner, another windbag who was on television all the time in the 1970s, also predicted that all the oxygen would be used up in America's freshwater rivers.

The lesson is: Go back and see what those founders of Earth Day said and see how little they really knew about what the future held for us.