Norton, Virginia as seen from Flag Rock.

Our Obsession with Armageddon, Some Welcome It

by Lewis Loflin

Above is the vast healthy forest that covers 90% or more of Appalachia. In this case, my hometown of Norton, Virginia.

Popular mass literature can often express the mood of many people. Amazon Kindle titles in 2022 novels on the electromagnetic pulse or solar CMRs wiping out the grid, zombie plagues, bio-engineered viruses, economic collapse, etc.

In earlier decades, environmental Armageddon was trendy. None of the hysterical predictions came true.

Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, I observed the first moon landing, lived under a cloud of nuclear war, and heard about pollution and overpopulation. I was always an avid reader of science and science fiction. Ecological Armageddon was a popular theme, and still is today.

The dangers of "nuclear" have been over-hyped by disarmament advocates and Luddites resentful and fearful of technology.

Hype about nuclear war is back in the news in 2022. COVID-19 brought human-created plagues back into the news as research into this insanity continues.

As a poor kid growing up in Appalachia without even a car in the family, the Wise County Book Mobile and school library were my only entertainment. Applied science, earth science, and history were my main interests. These books fed my love of science fiction.

Looking back today, it is easy to see popular literature reflects what people are thinking at the time.

There was a lot of literature on our imminent demise by pollution. The 100th anniversary of Vladimir Lenin's birth saw Earth Day's creation. He was also an avid lover of Nature and passed laws protecting the environment.

Today, "ecology" is the central theme in the far left's war on capitalism, technology, and Western culture in general.

I loved the forests. I grew up in Appalachia and hated strip mining. Still, I never took a spiritual or religious view of Nature. Nature was then and is today biology 101. Earth science (who couldn't love dinosaurs) means the natural processes of the past are just as relevant today. Ignoring this fact is scientific nonsense.

Science, to me, is merely the description of material processes in the natural world WITHOUT regard to spirituality, any deity, or endless moralizing. Science is not a democracy - one doesn't get to vote on facts. Stories and political rhetoric don't replace data or real-world experience.

Popular literature I read in my childhood was "The Earth Abides" by George R. Stewart, published in 1949. It was a post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel where a disease wiped out most of humanity. The survivors restarted a new society along the line of the American Indians. Little technology could survive with so few people, not even firearms.

Another novel was "Star Man's Son" by Andre Norton (born Alice Mary Norton, died 2005) was a post-nuclear war novel. Here the survivors that weren't rat-like mutants had also retreated to a 1700s technological level, with no firearms. The Star Men were seekers of lost knowledge, while the Plainsmen (white) was the new plains Indians. Yes, some Indians also survived. This story took place years later after the war.

Another nuclear apocalypse novel was "Alas Babylon" by Pat Frank, published in 1959. This novel concerned a family in Florida that survived the nuclear war and their struggles. Sorry, no mutants.

Nuclear war was a big theme in the 1960s. Atmospheric nuclear testing was thankfully coming to an end. I read about nuclear testing in the Pacific, in particular, Bikini Atoll.

One story concerned the Daigo Fukuryu Maru (I think the Lucky Dragon?), a Japanese fishing boat showered with nuclear fallout. The fallout came from a Bikini nuclear test in 1954. The 23-man crew all suffered radiation poisoning, and some died.

This is the origin of the Japanese Godzilla movies. There was a great panic over radioactive tuna at the time.


At the end of the 1970s, I found myself in West Berlin with the US army. Several novels and newspaper accounts hailed an ice age was due any day due to pollution. Nothing more to say.

Another novel I read was Warday by Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka. (Published 1984) This book concerned a limited nuclear war that left America full of starving cancer patients and people dying of mysterious deceases. The bombs' electromagnetic pulse (EMP) destroyed much of the electrical infrastructure.

While this book was anti-war propaganda, the EMP theme is still prevalent on many Kindle books at Amazon. One Second After by William R. Forstchen, published in 2009, had a similar theme. He testified on this issue before Congress.

Yet no mutants ever emerged at Bikini. And Bikini Atoll, a site of about two-dozen nuclear blasts, wrecked target ships, oil spills, etc., was an environmental disaster on an apocalyptic scale. Yet today while low-level radiation lingers the lagoon has nearly recovered and the atoll is lush and green. Divers visit the wrecked ships, called the Ghost Fleet.

Other than sensitive Geiger counters nobody would know nuclear tests ever took place there, other than a large round artificial crater at one end of the atoll.

Common today is those studying Bikini were shocked at the recovery experts say shouldn't have been, even in a massive blast crater. Then at the end of the report, the writer stressed the political position all coral reefs were dying from "climate change," contradicting their study.

Note October 2022: the Barrier Reef is recovering just fine. Other studies show the same thing happened 400 years ago. Reef die-offs are a natural event.

The earth seems far more resilient than some want to believe. The fossil record has shown this. This fact is not to discount the misuse of nuclear fission, but unfounded fear-mongering is another issue. Nuclear power is proven technology that does reduce that "evil" CO2.

From the web and television:

Prominent neo-Malthusians such as Paul Ehrlich maintain that population growth on Earth is still too high and will eventually lead to a serious crisis. The 2007–2008 world food price crisis inspired further Malthusian arguments regarding the prospects for global food supply.

Note there was no actual shortage of food in 2007. The fact that many dysfunctional and violent nations can't afford food is a matter of local politics in most cases. Yes, overpopulation and religious violence cause severe problems in Muslim cultures.

See graphic India Grain production 2007-2022.

World grain production has doubled since 1971 and the beginnings of Earth Day. See the graphic World Grain Production Double 1971-2018.

"The second half of the 1960s was a boom time for nightmarish visions of what lay ahead for humankind. In 1966, for example, a writer named Harry Harrison came out with a science fiction novel titled "Make Room! Make Room!" Sketching a dystopian world in which too many people scrambled for too few resources, the book became the basis for a 1973 film about a hellish future, "Soylent Green." In 1969, the pop duo Zager and Evans reached the top of the charts with a number called "In the Year 2525," which postulated that humans were on a clear path to doom."

As I remember Charlton Heston's last words were "Soylent Green is people..." I liked the song by Zager and Evans.

Article title A Sterility Drug in Food is Hinted; Biologist Stresses Need to Curb Population Growth New York Times Nov. 25, 1969 "promoted poisoned water and food supplies to curb population growth. Sterility drugs are to be added to food shipped to 3rd. world countries." Verified by myself.

Paul Ehrlich, July 31, 1974, wrote with John Holdren (Obama's science advisor) predicting a new ice age over the use of fossil fuels.

Ref. Global Cooling, Newsweek, April 25, 1975. Some thought this a return to Little Ice Age conditions between 1600 and 1900. They once again bring up overpopulation and starvation.

But what about the global food supply? Farm prices worldwide have been falling or are so low, raising concerns that even more U.S. farms will go out of business. A bushel weighs 60 pounds.

Update 2022: Due to supply chain disruptions, Covide 19, fuel prices, Ukraine War, boycotting Russian fertilizer, etc., have driven up food prices. None of this is due to abnormal climate change.

As of 10/26/2022, a bushel of corn costs $7.02 up from $3.60, wheat $9.65 up from $5.00 in 2018. My chickens' 50-pound bag of high protein layer feed cost about $18. 50-pounds of cracked corn/wheat feed is $12.00.

In 2016, the world produced 749 million metric tons of wheat. In 2017-2018 1.07 billion metric tons of corn were grown. The USA and Brazil alone have almost 200 million metric tons of soybeans. Soylent Green is soybeans!

Pork at a local grocery in Bristol, Virginia, is $2.00-$3.00 a pound. A 2-pound bag of brown rice at Dollar Tree is $1.29. A 50-pound bag of potatoes goes for ~$18. A 10-pound bag of par-boiled rice at Wall-Mart is under $7.00. Fresh carrots are $1.50 for a 2-pound bag at Aldis.

Note there are predictions of mass food shortages for 2023. All this caused by human stupidity, war, social chaos.

Technology with affordable and abundant energy makes this possible. All while protecting the environment. Yet for the last 50 years, it's endless doom and gloom.

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