A few days ago, I came across this article ‘Some advantages of being an aging conservative white male’ and it set me thinking/reminiscing.
I too am an aging white male. Conservative? Mmm, I prefer sceptical as my blog will tell you. In 1972 I attended my first environmental indoctrination seminar. Part of a two week schools science conference in London (I was an impressionable 16 year old). The title of the seminar was ‘2010 and all that’. Its premise – that by 2010 we would have run out of all natural resources needed as part of our technological western society. Oil was singled out as a resource long past its peak and heading towards oblivion. I was not worried, after all 2010 was 38 years into the future. It was merely an interesting ‘fact’. Clearly I lacked imagination, something available in shed loads to the legion of alarmists that stalked the school corridors, then as now.
In 1980 I bought my first (perhaps only) environmentalist book ‘Earth our Crowded Spaceship’ by science (and science fiction) writer Isaac Asimov, a tome he penned in 1974. Having read all his science fiction stories, this was (I thought) the first science book of his that I had read. But as an aging white sceptical male, I now realise that it was just more science fiction.
SUMMARY: Discusses the problems faced by the Earth’s inhabitants as population increases and energy sources, food, and land become scarce.
Basically Paul Ehrilch’s ‘The Population Bomb’(1968) and Thomas Malthus’ ‘Essay on the Principle of Population’ (1798) with knobs on. Like all alarmists Asimov was not content to predict disaster too far into the future, he wanted to be around to say I told you so, so the last line of Chapter 10 on Oil predictably reads, “…a crisis will come in our use of oil energy long before 2025, the crisis is coming now, in the 1970s —-“ Pause for 1970’s school boy snigger.
Isaac Asimov died in 1992. He was a great man. A hero of mine. He predicted the development of the world wide web, the hand held computer, the use of the atom bomb, and all before 1945. The man was a genius but his socialist leanings got in the way of his ability to see the future clearly when it came to socioeconomic issues.
To all those who like to predict the demise of life as we know it let it be known that some of us have long memories. Some of us read history, some of us remember the predictions of your failed forebears’. If you must cry ‘the end is nigh’, do yourselves a favour and make ‘nigh’ after your dead so as not to make a fool of yourself.