Alexander Graham Bell predicted today’s world 100 years ago

Alexander Graham Bell in the pages of National Geographic in 1917 guessed many of the problems of today's world, such as fossil fuels and greenhouse gases

Nostradamus step aside. The true soothsayer for the times we live in appears to be Alexander Graham Bell. American inventor famous for the discovery of the telephone. According to an article published in National Geographic, in 1917 Bell had identified many of today's problems.

Bell is famous worldwide for the discovery of the telephone, but in reality the American scientist with Scottish origins was an all-round entrepreneur. With interests in various fields. For example, in 1888 he was one of the co-founders of the National Geographic Society. And it was from the pages of National Geographic that Bell launched his precise predictions and fears about the world of the future. He began by declaring that the modern world would no longer be able to do without fossil fuels and that wars would be waged to get them. And then he said the environment would be devastated by greenhouse gases.

Bell's predictions

They seem like easy predictions today. A little less so early last century. Explaining greenhouse gases Bell said, "Even if the sun loses some heat the effect will not be visible on earth where emissions from the increasing use of fossil fuels will create internal gases that can overheat the planet." This is a brilliant prediction. Most scientists in 1917, in fact, were against Bell's theory and many argued that pollution would slowly lead to a cooling of the planet because the gases created by emissions would create a shield against the sun's rays.

Renewable energies

At the beginning of the twentieth century many people were excited about the possibility of having light or hot water even at night. Among them was not Bell. The scientist didn't appreciate a world based on two non-renewable energies like coal and oil. "What are we going to do when these run out?" - said the scientist at a graduation speech at the McKinley School, in Washington. He continued, "We're going to have to start studying the power of waves and water to be able to generate power from them. And we'll also have to think about systems to store sunlight to use it as a renewable source of energy." Bell predicted solar panels with incredible accuracy: "Every city has a vast expanse of rooftops exposed to the sun. There is no reason why we shouldn't use the roofs of our homes to install solar systems that can capture and store the heat we receive from the sun. Solar heat, like heat passing through a chimney, represents a waste product: we have it, but we don't use it. And then we criticize our utility bills for the rising price of coal."


In his predictions, although to date they still remain a hope, there were also biofuels and the use of corn pellets. On the second point, the first signs are beginning to be seen, especially for space heating. On biofuels there are still several steps forward to be done. Let's hope that Bell is right this time too.