IPFS Frosty Wooldridge


More About: Environment

Ensure a sustainable future for all life on Earth

"Today, we are living in an era in which the biggest threat to human well-being, to other species, and to the Earth as we know it, might well be ourselves." —David Attenborough
America remains on course to add 100 million people by 2035. We must choose between sustainability and numbers.  We can’t have both.
My friend Lea Durant, director of  Progressives for Immigration Reform, website: http://www.progressivesforimmigrationreform.org , addresses the impact of immigration on America’s future as a sustainable civilization.  I invite you to look at a liberal’s view in order to make your own decisions. Does she make sense?  Does she make it clear?  You be the judge:
“The nation's ongoing debate over the number of legal and illegal immigrants entering the country each year has raised legitimate questions about the sustainability of current U.S. immigration policies and the size of nation we wish to become,” said Durant.  “Although political sensitivity has often curtailed the discussion of the impact that immigration has on U.S. population size, the fact is that immigration accounts for 63% of our nation's population growth. For over 30 years, immigration has served as the largest contributor to the increase in U.S. population.
“As a direct result of its immigration policies, the United States is now the third most populous nation in the entire world and grows at a rate of more than twice that of China. In fact, the United States has the fastest population growth of any industrialized nation, and is surpassed only by India and Nigeria.
“Projections issued by the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that over the next 50 years the United States is set to add an additional 167 million more to its population, with 105 million resulting solely due to immigration. This projection is an increase of more than 55% of the U.S. population today.
“The United States currently adds 1.25 million immigrants (net) to its population every year. Without a return to more traditional levels of immigration, somewhere in the neighborhood of  200,000 per year, U.S. population is slated to increase from 315 million today to 468 million by the year 2060.
“Public opinion polls demonstrate that stabilizing the size of U.S. population is a concept that most Americans are willing to embrace. The goal of population stabilization can be achieved by curtailing large-scale immigration.”
Does Immigration Impact The Environment?
“Many people want a sustainable society, one that secures essential natural resources for future generations and preserves flourishing populations of all native species in perpetuity,” said Durant.  “Yet the United States will fail in these efforts, if we fail to stabilize our population. As the late David Brower, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club, put it, at the dawn of the environmental movement: "We feel you don't have a conservation policy unless you have a population policy."
“Many people seek to preserve open space, farms and wildlife habitat from sprawl,” said Durant. “They support new parks and wildlife refuges, and improved land use, transportation and zoning policies. But over half the sprawl in the United States is caused by population growth. Unless we stop population growth, sprawl will continue to gobble up undeveloped land.
“Many people want the United States to take the lead in combating global climate change. They support higher mileage requirements for cars and trucks and increased funding for mass transit; replacing coal-fired power plants with solar, wind and other alternative energy sources; and higher efficiency standards for heating, cooling and insulating new buildings. But in recent decades, four-fifths of the increase in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions has come from U.S. population growth, as more people drove more cars, built more houses, ate more food, and did all the other things that generate carbon.
"Unless we stop population growth, America will continue to generate too much CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases.
“Some environmentalists argue that Americans only need to focus on fighting pollution and reducing our consumption, in order to curb environmental destruction. They are right to argue for decreased consumption and increased vigilance against polluters, but wrong to assume that such efforts can take the place of stabilizing our population.
"A growing population can swamp improvements in consumption or pollution abatement. In fact, we have seen this happen regarding national energy use and carbon emissions in the past few decades, as greater efficiency in per capita energy use has failed to keep pace with increased numbers (more "capitas"). Total energy use and total carbon emissions have risen, due to population growth.”
As President Clinton's Council on Sustainable Development put it:
"Managing population growth, resources, and wastes is essential to ensuring that the total impact of these factors is within the bounds of sustainability. Stabilizing the population without changing consumption and waste production patterns would not be enough, but it would make an immensely challenging task more manageable. In the United States, each is necessary; neither alone is sufficient."
“One of the Council's ten main recommendations for creating a sustainable society was: "Move toward stabilization of U.S. Population."
That cannot happen if America continues importing a total of 3.1 million immigrants annually, which includes legal at 1.2 million, illegal at 800,000 to 900,000 and their 900,000 child births annually.
You may reach Lea Durant at:
Progressives for Immigration Reform, 888 16th Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20006, phone toll-free: 866-331-PFIR, website: http://www.progressivesforimmigrationreform.org