There will be 7 billion people by the turn of the century, twice the number now. They are not going to have enough to eat: half the world’s population is starving already, and 4 or 5 of the 7 billion are expected to. They will not have enough habitable living space, even by our own generation’s shrinking standards: the more affluent may live 50,000 to a skyscraper, the poor in cement warrens of “conurbations” spreading across continents from end to end. They will not have enough parks, beaches, woods, open countryside to escape maddening urban pressures, or enough psychiatrists for any but the basket-cases. They might not have the physical room to travel freely, They may not have enough breatheable air or drinkable water.
There are so many things wrong with this I’ll only highlight a few. The easiest is the population, the 7 billion figure was off by a mere billion. The writer claimed that we wouldn’t have “enough habitable living space,” although I don’t know what “enough” means. That’s vague and doesn’t tell us anything. Ditto for “parks, beaches, woods” etc. Enough for someone might not be enough for a different person. I don’t know the actual figures, but I assume there are “enough” psychiatrists to go around and the basket-cases don’t have a monopoly on their services. The air, at least in America, is getting cleaner.
Another eye catching paragraph was:
There are a lot more such fright stories, and others possibly in the making as bad or worse; earthquakes caused by manmade dams, deserts spreading relentlessly across overgrazed land, a new Ice Age induced by human tinkering with the atmosphere, lifeless oceans, terrestrial floods. And all the ravages we are just beginning to notice will have doubled within 30 years, when twice as many human beings will be scrambling for food and water, excreting, piling up garbage, consuming fuels and manufactured goods, emitting noisome vapors and deafening sounds as the crisscross the globe in cars and supersonic jets.
This sounds like it could have been spoken yesterday, although the Ice Age prediction is outdated has since been replaced by a new hysteria. Sterling some how didn’t mention all the people solving problems, coming up with better things, and improving the standard of living.
Writings like this make it hard for me to take any eco - apocalyptics seriously, regardless if they have something intelligent to say. For all our problems, I’ll take life today over life 36 years ago and enjoy the company of the ultimate resource.