Look out! The sky is falling… Oh wait, no it isn’t… Yes, it is or it will someday… But not today… Nor ever.
Does this feel like anything you’re listening to right now?
Let’s pick any topic: economy, aging, pandemics, climate change. But, just for giggles, let’s pick the latter.
What kind of headlines have I seen about climate change during my own lifetime? Oh, let me count the ways…
Or better yet, maybe…
50 ways to leave your lover?
1. 1967: Dire Famine Forecast By 1975
2. 1969: Everyone Will Disappear In a Cloud Of Blue Steam By 1989
3. 1970: Ice Age By 2000
4. 1970: America Subject to Water Rationing By 1974 and Food Rationing By 1980
5. 1971: New Ice Age Coming By 2020 or 2030
6. 1972: New Ice Age By 2070
7. 1974: Space Satellites Show New Ice Age Coming Fast
8. 1974: Another Ice Age?
9. 1974: Ozone Depletion a ‘Great Peril to Life
10. 1976: Scientific Consensus Planet Cooling, Famines imminent
11. 1980: Acid Rain Kills Life In Lakes
12. 1978: No End in Sight to 30-Year Cooling Trend
13. 1988: Regional Droughts (that never happened) in the 1990s
14. 1988: Temperatures in DC Will Hit Record Highs
15. 1988: Maldive Islands will Be Underwater by 2018 (they’re not)
16. 1989: Rising Sea Levels will Obliterate Nations if Nothing Done by 2000
17. 1989: New York City’s West Side Highway Underwater by 2019 (it’s not)
18. 2000: Children Won’t Know What Snow Is
19. 2002: Famine In 10 Years If We Don’t Give Up Eating Fish, Meat, and Dairy
20. 2004: Britain will Be Siberia by 2024
21. 2008: Arctic will Be Ice Free by 2018
22. 2008: Climate Genius Al Gore Predicts Ice-Free Arctic by 2013
23. 2009: Climate Genius Prince Charles Says we Have 96 Months to Save World
24. 2009: UK Prime Minister Says 50 Days to ‘Save The Planet From Catastrophe’
25. 2009: Climate Genius Al Gore Moves 2013 Prediction of Ice-Free Arctic to 2014
26. 2013: Arctic Ice-Free by 2015
27. 2014: Only 500 Days Before ‘Climate Chaos’
28. 1968: Overpopulation Will Spread Worldwide
29. 1970: World Will Use Up All its Natural Resources
30. 1966: Oil Gone in Ten Years
31. 1972: Oil Depleted in 20 Years
32. 1977: Department of Energy Says Oil will Peak in the 1990s
33. 1980: Peak Oil In 2000
34. 1996: Peak Oil in 2020
35. 2002: Peak Oil in 2010
36. 2006: Super Hurricanes!
37. 2005: Manhattan Underwater by 2015
38. 1970: Urban Citizens Will Require Gas Masks by 1985
39. 1970: Nitrogen buildup Will Make All Land Unusable
40. 1970: Decaying Pollution Will Kill all the Fish
41. 1970s: Killer Bees!
42. 1975: The Cooling World and a Drastic Decline in Food Production
43. 1969: Worldwide Plague, Overwhelming Pollution, Ecological Catastrophe, Virtual Collapse of UK by End of 20th Century
44. 1972: Pending Depletion and Shortages of Gold, Tin, Oil, Natural Gas, Copper, Aluminum
45. 1970: Oceans Dead in a Decade, US Water Rationing by 1974, Food Rationing by 1980
46. 1988: World’s Leading Climate Expert Predicts Lower Manhattan Underwater by 2018
47. 2005: Fifty Million Climate Refugees by the Year 2020
48. 2000: Snowfalls Are Now a Thing of the Past
49.1989: UN Warns That Entire Nations Wiped Off the Face of the Earth by 2000 From Global Warming
50. 2011: Washington Post Predicted Cherry Blossoms Blooming in Winter
And so it all goes…
As I write this riposte to the nonsense doomsayers, I am being told by the media that the dollar is dead, crypto is taking over, but then crypto will be taken over by a central country digital currency, oh, and…
Wait, my head hurts.
Didn’t I just buy a coffee with a 5-dollar note?
When I first moved to America from U.K. in 1993, I landed in Minneapolis. For some reason, everyone there seemed convinced of 3 things:
- The dollar was dead and I was advised to head back home or at least move all my wealth (I actually only had $2,000 left in the world at that point) into gold.
- Winters were getting increasingly worse and a new ice age to turn the great plains into Siberia was underway. (It was February and, with a -45°F wind chill factor, I really believed that could be true).
- Finally, a very nice married couple informed me that they had purchased a holiday home in the desert outside Phoenix because the big California earthquake was long overdue, and when it happened their holiday home would be beachfront property.
No, they were not crazy.
They were intelligent, kind, gentle people who made my wife and I feel very welcome.
Why do people fall continuously for the fear factor?
As it turned out the dollar rallied, climate change pivoted based on a dumb film, and the couple with the beachfront cottage found out it had been built on the migration path of garter snakes and could never sell it (or live in it).
Fast forward to today
Today I’m told that the stock market is too good to be true…
Bitcoin is the future, but it will crash and burn people…
Climate change is caused by meat processing so we have to eat plant-based (I do but not because someone told me to)…
The Covid pandemic will be with us for the rest of our lives (it won’t any more than ebola or the swine flu currently are).
What to do? I have the answer.
Take each index finger and place them firmly in your ears
The world is chaotic, my friends.
No one has a plan. There is no conspiracy.
People in positions of authority have no idea what they are doing.
Everyone is making it up as they go along… including me.
Stop listening to the prophets and the doomsayers.
Focus on the things you can control — your relationship, your spirit, your business, your career, your pets, your teenage kids.
(And, yes, this is in order of priority.)
Ignore the rest of the white noise.
A version of this blog is also posted on medium.com