Frosty Wooldridge

CONNECTING THE DOTS

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PLAGUE OF THE 21ST CENTURY: OVERPOPULATION IN AMERICA

Albert Einstein wrote, “The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.” Nonetheless, governors, our president, Congress and other leaders stagger forward with ‘solutions’ that accelerate America’s population problems.  Immigration stands as THE dilemma this country faces in this century.

 

In the past 10 years, the world added 880 million people. America added 33 million and California added six million—on its way from 36 million to 56 million in the next 30 years.  Like California, many states found themselves inundated with sprawl, gridlock, rising home prices, collapsing hospitals, new forms of crime and diseases.  Today, America stands at 300 million and grows by 3.0 million annually.  Just past the mid-century, America will add 300 million people.  Humans will grow from 6.6 billion to 9.8 billion people(source: Balance.org and Population Reference Bureau)—creating ever greater misery around the world.  Today, eight million people stave to death annually around the globe (source: Time Magazine, March 14, 2005). Half of them are children.


Soon past the mid-century, those added millions compete for dwindling resources, water, food and a diminishing quality of life. In western states like California and Arizona, a drought in 2050 will become a disaster along with many other consequences.  


For graphic examples, one need only look at India and China. In a recent speech, Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, said, "In my country, four million people are born in the streets, live in the streets and die in the streets-never having used a toilet or shower." If massive population is so good, why is India so poor?


Overpopulation will become the “Plague of the 21st Century.”  Ultimately, it creates the “Tragedy of the Commons” or, what is known today as exceeding carrying capacity.

Where is America headed?  Do we want such a legacy for our own children?  According to 60 Minutes, one million homeless children struggle in our inner cities today.  In excess of 13 million American children live below the poverty line.  What will be the fate of another 300 million people who create homeless children?  How many are too many and when will Americans address that fact?  Which leader?

 

At this time—few! Politicians scurry like cockroaches at the mention of population stabilization. Corporations demand larger markets as if nonrenewable resources will appear out of a magician’s black hat.  We're like a runaway freight train with no brakes headed toward the edge of the Grand Canyon.

 

Americans face consequences in every corner of our nation. Our East and West coasts, teeming with too many people, strive to deal with escalating water, air and land dilemmas.  Acid rains pound our lakes with chemicals. Our cities create thick clouds where millions of children breathe carcinogens with every breath. Farmers kill microbes in the soil with fertilizers and pesticides--leaving us with contaminated foods for eating.  Each year, 1.3 million new cancers are detected in our US citizens--an epidemic of our own making.

 

Eleanor Roosevelt said it 50 years ago; "We must prevent human tragedy rather than run around trying to save ourselves after an event has already occurred. Unfortunately, history clearly shows that we arrive at catastrophe by failing to meet the situation, by failing to act when we should have acted. The opportunity passes us by and the next disaster is always more difficult and compounded than the last one."

 

By failing to act now, what kinds of consequences will we as a nation face when we hit 1/2 billion people?  In the US with 300 million more people, that's 100 percent more traffic, 100 percent added planes in the air, 100 percent increased pollution, 100 percent faster uses of already limited resources like water and gasoline. With each new added American, 1 to 12.6 acres of wilderness is plowed up to support that person. In the next 10 years, according to the National Academy of Sciences, 2,500 plants and animals will become extinct in the USA because of habitat destruction via population growth. Why aren't we addressing the moral and biological consequences of such horrific extinction rates?

 

When you add ocean fisheries collapsing, acid rain, ozone destruction, drought, contaminated water supplies, poisoning and sterilization of the soils by insecticides and fertilizers--we're building unimaginable consequences.

 

How serious is our problem? Upon receiving the Sanger Award for Human Rights in 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King said, "…the plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess. What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution, but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and the education of billions of people who are its victims."

 

Fifty year ago, Bangladesh, India and China ignored their accelerating populations.  Today, their problems grow so gargantuan, they can’t solve them.  As if like lemmings, America's leaders follow the same steps.  According to the Center for Immigration Studies, we're allowing the immigration of more than millions of people annually from countries that refuse family planning. Since the American female has a fertility rate of 2.03 children, it's not Americans causing the rising population tide. We need immigration reform and reduction to less than 175,000 people annually before population momentum forces us into an unsustainable society.   If we don’t tame this ‘immigration monster’, it will grow past our ability to manage it.

 

If we do nothing, we commit our children and all living things to a difficult future by not addressing overpopulation in 2005. It's a disservice to ourselves, our nation and future generations.

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