Chicago might never seen the sun shine

That was the prediction of an eco-alarmist when he was asked what is ahead for us in the 21st Century.

Glenn T. Seaborg, chairman of the Atomic Energy commission, forecast that dark future in a 1969 Chicago Tribune series about what's in store for Chicago in the 21st Century. (The series was spotlight in a "Tribune archives" feature on Jan. 14.)  Said the story:

For 21st century Chicago, the price could be the creation of a city in which the sun never shines because it cannot penetrate the tons of airborne pollutants and a city where rainfall strikes terror because it drenches everything with destructive and deadly acids.

For 21st century Chicago, the price could be the rationing of water that, to be potable, must be treated again in the home before it can be used, and a city in which every man, woman, and child lives and works in sealed structures where all air is washed.

As I write this, 15 years into the 21st Century, the sun is shining outside of my window. I don't have to treat my water in my home and I'm not living in a sealed structure.

Without question, much has been done to clean up the environment since such dire warnings were issued. Many measures to clean our air and water clearly have done much to save us from this kind of horrible future. Recycling is taken for granted. Government regulations and laws have been enacted.

But when Seaborg says his alarms are supported by an "enormous amount of scientific and technical literature," doesn't it have a familiar ring to the absolutely certain warnings today about global warming? Do we learn from history?

For information about my award-winning historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812," visit:


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  • In 1969? Was he a Cubs fan too?

  • Might have been. That was the year that the Cubs were oh so close but blew it. T'was a very bad year. (Except for me; the year I married.)

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    And I did too.

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