In Honor of Earth Day, 1996

This article was distributed through the C-News mailing list in commemeration of Earth Day, 1996. It is a compilation of various facts on the "state of the environment." There are alot of hysterical, reactionary, environmental-wackos telling us that "the sky is falling" when it is simply not the case. The future is dismal and foreboding according to many passages in the Holy Bible. The "last days" will be cataclysmic, destructive, fatal, disastrous, catastrophic, fateful, calamitous, and ruinous. Even the environment will be affected in many, many ways. How does this relate to the view we espouse which questions the "doom-and-gloomers" of the Left? Well, we hold that the world-wide, future events fortold in the Bible will be Supernatural in origin and NOT a result of Western Civilization's existence. Yes, man has made a mess of things, but not in a way characterized by those out in left-field.


* The current rate of annual worldwide population growth is down to 1.6 percent and continues to fall from its 1960s peak of 2.0 percent. The average annual growth rate is 0.4 percent for developed countries and 1.9 percent for developing regions.

* "Overpopulation" is a problem that has been misidentified and misdefined. The term has no scientific definition or clear meaning. The problems typically associated with overpopulation (hungry families, squalid and overcrowded living conditions) are more properly understood as issues of poverty.

* The total fertility rate for the world as a whole dropped by nearly two-fifths between 1950/55 and 1990/95 - from about 5 children per woman down to about 3.1 children per woman. Average fertility in the more developed regions fell from 2.8 to 1.7 children per woman, well below biological replacement. Meanwhile total fertility rates in less developed regions fell by 40 percent, falling from 6.2 to 3.5 children per woman.

* Global per capita calorie availability rose by nearly a third between the 1930s and late 1980s, with per capita food supplies rising by 40 percent in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

* Worldwide per capita productivity has surged. Between 1950 and 1989, per capita output tripled in Western Europe, North America, and Australia, doubled in India and Pakistan, and increased eightfold in South Korea and tenfold in Taiwan. Even parts of Africa may have enjoyed a near tripling of per capita output between 1913 and 1989.

All of the above provided by Nicholas Eberstadt, a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University's Center for Population Studies. He has been a consultant to the World Bank and the State Department. He has an A.B. from Harvard, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


* Food is more abundant and cheaper today than at any other time before history. Per capita grain supplies have increased 24 percent since 1950, while food prices have plummeted by 57 percent since 1980. Grain yields in developing countries rose 32 percent between 1980 and 1992.

* Food production has outpaced population growth since the 1960s. The increase in food production in poor countries has been more than double population growth rate in recent years.

* The global trouble spots for soil erosion and habitat destruction - the Amazon rain forest, parts of Africa, and other scattered locations - are experiencing problems because local agriculture has not taken advantage of high-yield technologies and efficiencies.

* Modern high-yield farming is responsible for preserving a great deal of the world's biodiversity. If crop yields had remained at levels typical of the 1950s, farmers would have had to plow an additional 10 million square miles of wildlife habitat to raise enough food for the current world food supply.

* Over 90 percent of those with an inadequate diets worldwide are within 10 percent of having enough calories for good health.

The information above was compiled by Dennis Avery. Avery is the Director for Global Food Issues at the Hudson Institute. For nearly a decade he was the senior agricultural analyst in the U.S. Department of State and has done advisory work for the Department of Agriculture.


* The earth's atmosphere has actually cooled by 0.13 degrees Celsius since 1979 according to highly accurate satellite-based atmospheric temperature measurements. By contrast, computer models predict that the globe should have warmed by an easily detectable 0.4 degrees Celsius over the last 15 years. Temperature records reveal that predictive models are off by a factor of two when applied retroactively in projecting the change in global temperature for this century.

* Temperature records show that the Arctic has actually cooled by 0.88 degrees Celsius over the past fifty years.

* In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he growth rate and concentration of many greenhouse gases fell well below expected levels. Some, such as methane and carbon monoxide, have leveled off or even declined. Others, such as CO(2), have shown a substantial reduction in the rate of increase; and the rate of concentration is increasing, but at far below expected levels.

The above were compiled by Robert C. Ballingm, Jr., who is the Director of the office of Climatology and Associate Professor of geography at Arizona State University. He has published over seventy articles in the professional scientific literature, currently serves as a consultant to the United Nations, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.


* The objective, scientific evidence available today shows that alarmists were wrong in virtually every prediction they made in the 1960s and 1970s when they forecast increasing natural resources scarcity and rising commodity prices.

* Every measurable trend of the past century suggests that humanity will soon be entering an age of increasing and unprecedented natural resources abundance.

* Technological improvements and advances in productivity have continually outpaced our consumption of natural resources and have led to the net creation of more resources available to future generations.

* In spite of Paul Ehrlich's projection that mineral supplies would be largely depleted by 1985, proven reserves of virtually all important minerals have skyrocketed since 1950.

* The continuing discovery of new mines, technological innovations in mining technology and introductions of less expensive or superior substitutes for the use of some minerals have caused most minerals to become less scarce rather than more scarce over the past 100 years.

* Although Paul Ehrlich refers to the 1980s as a "catastrophic decade" in terms of consumption, the period witnessed tremendous increases in the supply of almost all raw materials.

* Since 1950, proven reserves for oil and gas have climbed over 700 percent.

* Natural resources today are about half as expensive relative to wages as they were in 1980. Natural resources are three times less expensive today than they were fifty years ago and roughly eight times less costly than they were in 1900.

All information above compiled by Stephen Moore. Moore serves as an economist at the Cato Institute and was a fellow on the Joint Economic Committee in 1993. He has appeared on many news programs and his writings are frequently in newspapers.


* The idea that there is an epidemic of human cancer caused by synthetic industrial chemicals is false.

* If lung cancer, which is primarily due to smoking, is excluded, cancer death rates are decreasing in the U.S. for all other causes combined. Pollution accounts for less than 1 percent of human cancer.

* Zero exposure to carcinogens cannot be achieved. Low levels of carcinogens of natural origin are ubiquitous in the environment. It is thus impossible to obtain conditions totally free of exposure to carcinogens or to background radiation.

* The vast bulk of chemicals ingested by humans is natural. For example, 99.9% of the pesticides we eat are naturally present in plants to ward off insects and other predators. Reducing exposure to the 0.01 percent that are synthetic will not reduce cancer rates. People consume 10,000 times more natural pesticides than they do synthetic pesticides.

* Making foods more expensive by reducing synthetic pesticide use is likely to increase cancer.

* Indoor air is generally of greater concern than outdoor air because 90 percent of people's time is spent indoors, and the concentrations of pollutants tend to be higher outdoors.

* Epidemiological studies of radon exposures in homes have failed to demonstrate convincingly an excess risk.

* There is no convincing epidemiological evidence, nor is there much toxicological plausibility that DDT and PCB levels usually found in the environment are likely to be a significant contributor to cancer.

* One can not find a general difference between synthetic and natural chemicals in ability to cause cancer in high-dose tests.

This information as compiled by Bruce Ames and Lois Swirsky Gold. Ames is a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Center at the University of California, Berkeley. He was formerly a member of the National Cancer Institute and has received several national awards in the field of cancer research. Because of his 300 scientific publications, he is the twenty-third most cited scientist in all fields for the period 1973-1984. Lois Gold is the Director of the Carcinogenic Potency Project at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory at U.C. Berkeley. She has worked with the National Toxicology Program and is currently a board member of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis.


* Though nearly 75 percent of the total industrial wood production comes from the Northern Hemisphere industrial countries, the temperate forestlands of this region are expanding.

* The world's current industrial wood consumption requirements could be produced on only 5 percent of the world's total current forestland.

* Fully two-thirds of the deforestation of the United States occurred in the sixty years prior to 1910 and most of the other third before 1850.

* Although the United States has been the world's number one timber producer since World War II, U.S. forests have experienced an increase in volume in the past fifty years and have maintained roughly the same area over the past seventy-five years.

* The total area of forest and other wooded land in Europe increased by 2 million hecactres between 1980 and 1990.

* The total forest area of the temperate region's industrialized countries increased between 1980 and 1990.

* During 1993, an estimated 4 million trees were planted in the United States each day.

* The forest biomass in the northern Rockies has increased by 30 percent or more since the middle of the eighteenth century.

* Almost all of the timber harvested in the United States, Europe, and the Nordic countries comes from second-growth and plantation forests.

* Commercial logging is not a major cause of deforestation; expanding agriculture is. This problem would be alleviated if developing countries would adopt high-yield, industrial agricultural techniques.

Roger Sedjo compiled this information. Sedjo was an economist with the U.S. Agency for International Development and currently is a Senior Fellow in the Energy and Natural Resources Division at Resources for the Future. He has co-authored three books on the subject of forestation.


* Water recycling increased more than 400 percent between 1954 and 1985 and it is expected to double again between 1985 and 2000.

* Transferring just 5 percent of agricultural water to urban areas would meet the water needs of municipal areas for the next 25 years.

* Eliminating laws against water marketing and establishing private water rights would give consumers incentive to use water more efficiently.

* Increasing in research and development for new technologies has led to water conservation. New toilets used in Japan, for example, decrease water usage tremendously.

* The amount of water used, though increasing between 1940 and 1990, constituted only 1 percent of the total precipitation of that time period.

* The rate of increase of water usage in the United States decreased from 37 percent from 1960 to 1970 to 22 percent from 1970 to 1980. Between 1970 and 1988, the rate of increase decreased to 14 percent.

* Some 75 percent of water used in the United States is reusable as it returns to surface-water or groundwater supplies.

* Water-based disease in many parts of the world is entirely preventable with modern centralized water and sewer systems. The number of people worldwide with access to safe drinking water rose 14 percent from 1970 to 1980.

Water information presented here was compiled by Terry Anderson. Anderson is a Professor of Economics at Montana State University and a Senior Associate at PERC, a research institution specializing in environmental and natural resources issues. He has authored or co-authored three books on the subject.


* Documented animal extinctions peaked in the 1930s and has been decreasing ever since. More than 75 percent of the land on every continent, save Europe, is available for wildlife.

* In the United States, sulfur dioxide emissions per capita are down 60 percent from the peak in 1920. Both particulates and carbon monoxide emissions per capita have declined more or less continuously since World War II - inhalable particulates down 79 percent since 1940 and carbon monoxide down 53 percent since 1945.

* Volatile organic compounds emissions per capita have declined since 1970; and in 1992 they were down 36 percent from the peak. Nitrogen oxide per capita is down 10 percent since 1980.

This and other information contained in this document are found in the book: "The True State of the Planet," Ronald Bailey, editor. Published in 1995. Anyone interested in real environmental progress should pick up a copy or contact the Competitive Enterprise Institute (the book is a result of one of their projects).

-Distributed by Steve Ertel, via the C-News Mailing List.

Back to Bible Believers' Home Page