The NPG Journal: Vol. 6, No. 9 – 10/21/13
A Monthly Commentary on Population and Immigration Issues
Presented by Negative Population Growth, Inc.
COMMENTARY by NPG President Donald Mann
When Professor Albert Bartlett died last month, our nation and world lost a great advocate for sustainability and population reduction – and NPG lost a very good friend.
While there have been countless tributes put forth in recent weeks celebrating Al’s life and accomplishments (NPG’s memoriam is available on our website, www.NPG.org), I make note of his passing here to both salute his contributions to our shared fight and to reaffirm NPG’s commitment to carry on his message.
For decades, Professor Bartlett and NPG worked in unison to promote the fact that “sustainable growth” is a contradiction. He actually considered that phrase an oxymoron – and he was right.
Through the years, Al’s core arguments against growth evolved from his most famous and oft-repeated statement: ”The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” He hammered home the fact that even a modest percentage growth in population can lead to huge escalations over a relatively short period of time.
A physics professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder for more than 40 years, Al was recently honored with a tribute stating how he used his position for “providing the word sustainability with a meaningful definition.” He is hailed as having given his celebrated one-hour lecture (Arithmetic, Population and Energy) 1,742 times.
However, his insights and lessons went far beyond the borders of the UC-Boulder campus. Today, with the internet, his impact knows no bounds. A YouTube video of his lecture has been viewed nearly 5 million times.
NPG and Al Bartlett were loyal partners in warning of the consequences of steady growth. Yet, what really forged our close bond was the understanding that we must teach young people about the dangers of ever-rising population numbers. America’s young people do not understand what is about to happen to them if current population trends continue. But, with proper education from outfits like NPG, they hold in their hands the real power to shape a sustainable future.
That is what makes our educational outreach programs so important.
In recent years, NPG has made a substantial financial investment in expanding our efforts to get our message into America’s classrooms. We do so because we are convinced – the more we invest in exposing the dangers of population growth to today’s youth, the more it will help us win the population battle in the future.
We’ve been able to grow our educational programs because dedicated and generous NPG members see them as central to our mission: to derail today’s population numbers, which have our nation headed toward disaster.
Each semester, we reach out to thousands of teachers across the country who eagerly accept our offer of NPG Posters, Population Fact Sheets, Forum papers, and other educational materials. Teachers distribute these valuable resources to tens of thousands of students each year, sowing the seeds for a new generation to join the fight for a livable world.
Al Bartlett promoted sustainable living because he regarded it as “the greatest challenge” facing humanity. During his 90 years, he saw world population go from less than 2 billion to over 7 billion – and U.S. population rise from just over 100 million to nearly 317 million. These shocking numbers stand as proof positive that his arithmetic – and his warnings – are very much on target.
Al’s exemplary knowledge of physics, combined with the fact that he was a young man at the birth of the atomic age, meant that he could have gone into private industry and reaped great financial rewards. Instead, he dedicated his life to education – and the world is richer for it.
We all have an important and valuable role to play in emulating great men like Professor Al Bartlett. NPG is proud to carry on his life’s work.
BIG BUSINESS AND IMMIGRATION REFORM
With the government shutdown, the battle over Obamacare, and the need to raise the national debt ceiling dominating headlines, the issue of immigration reform has been temporarily moved to the background on Capitol Hill. However, advocates for admitting more foreign workers into our country continue to push their demands behind the scenes.
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York reports that representatives from more than 100 big corporations recently signed a letter to John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi. The letter highlights the fact that there is a “global war for talent,” urging House leaders to “align our nation’s immigration policies with its workforce needs at all skill levels to ensure U.S. global competitiveness.”
The article notes that many of the companies lobbying for more immigrants – who would presumably work for a lower wage – include major firms that have laid off thousands of employees in recent years. They include: Merck, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, United Technologies, American Express, Procter & Gamble, T-Mobile, Archer-Daniels-Midland, Cigna, Texas Instruments, and others.
York quotes Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a strong proponent of responsible immigration reform, as stating: ”Senate Democrats, the Gang of Eight and the White House have all apparently decided that large corporations should be able to tailor the nation’s immigration policy to suit their own financial interests. Now it falls on the shoulders of House Republicans to do the right thing and to defend the legitimate interests of American workers.”
On the issue of legal immigrants, NPG has long held that – as studies show the vast majority of U.S. population growth is a direct result of immigration – any new immigration legislation must radically reduce the current level of 1.1 million-plus legal immigrants to no more than 200,000 per year.
DON’T TRUST CALIFORNIA TO ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAWS
Open-border advocates in California, who have spent years pushing to get the U.S. to back off from strict enforcement of federal immigration laws, recently won a major victory. In early October, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill limiting his state’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
According to Elise Foley at Huffington Post: ”The new California law, known as the Trust Act, limits the state’s cooperation with Secure Communities, a federal program that allows the Department of Homeland Security to access fingerprints taken by local police, to screen detained individuals for immigration status and to request that law enforcement agencies hold them if they’re found to be undocumented.”
Foley’s article highlights how Brown and other California leaders are playing to a powerful political constituency in defying U.S. law. She notes: ”California isn’t the typical state on immigration… The state is now about 38 percent Latino, according to the most recent Census data, compared to the roughly 17 percent of the population made up by Latinos nationwide. California is also among the most immigrant-friendly states in the country. The legislature passed a bill last month to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, following steps taken by 10 other states.”
There are also implications that California’s new Trust Act may impact future immigration laws coming out of Washington, D.C., as well as activities by the Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency. This was underscored by a statement from Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of the National Day Labor Organizing Network, who said: ”The tide is turning… California’s historic legislation marks a shift of the pendulum away from the criminalization of immigrants and against the idea that police should have any role in immigration enforcement.”
The Huffington Post article also drew attention to the fact that: ”Former Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano, who recently became president of the University of California system, shifted on the Trust Act and urged Brown earlier this week to support it – even though the Secure Communities expanded across the country under her watch.”
For a more detailed analysis of California’s new laws, please see Hurtling Toward 50 Million: California Expands the Welcome Mat for Illegal Immigration – a new piece written by NPG Special Advisor David Simcox.
NATIONAL YOUNG FARMERS SPEAK UP
The millions of Americans who live in urban areas rarely pay attention to where their food comes from. Decades ago, farms were not very far from the city – but in the 21st century, food is mostly brought in by rail, truck, or plane from distant points. Close in, local farms all but disappeared. In many cases, it is hard to find an abundance of farms within 30 miles of large cities.
Lindsey Lusher Shute and Benjamin Shute took to the pages of the The New York Times recently, spotlighting the plight of small farmers and relating their personal story of how hard it is to acquire affordable farm land – either for lease or ownership.
The Shute family’s efforts to farm in upstate New York ran into a number of problems, and their story is worth reading. They explain: ”Though the farms best suited for our vegetables were protected from development by conservation easements, we discovered that we couldn’t compete, because conserved farmland is open to all buyers – millionaires included.”
In their article, they hail the solutions put forth by the Vermont Land Trust and the State of Massachusetts, which have made great strides in advancing stricter conservation easements that limit who can own certain land. According to the Times piece, this policy “keeps farms affordable and deters farm sales to nonfarmers.”
Perhaps the most disturbing reality highlighted by the Shutes is this: ”In the next 20 years, 70 percent of the nation’s farmland will change hands. Farmers do not live forever, and most farm kids do not choose to carry on the family business.”
The Shutes continue by stating: ”An eager generation of young Americans is motivated to farm but, like us, they need land and few will be able to secure it without help.”
The good news is that the Shutes found a 70-acre farm near Clermont, N.Y. and have been able to buy it with help from a land trust. However, they also recognize that the fight for small farms is not over and they now serve as co-founders of the National Young Farmers Coalition.
As part of our educational efforts, NPG consistently urges young people of the critical need to protect productive farmland from overpopulation. We applaud all elected leaders and citizens who champion conservation easements, as well as land trusts which are working so hard to protect America’s farming heritage.
FRACKING FACE-OFFS IN COLORADO
There are billions of dollars at stake for Colorado and its citizens, and thousands of wells being drilled across The Centennial State, but residents in certain areas are united in saying “not so fast.”
The Denver Post reports that “Front Range residents are forcing faceoffs over oil and gas drilling in their midst, challenging the power of state regulators charged with balancing drilling and protection of health and the environment.”
The article goes on to highlight how “four ballot measures put forth by residents of Boulder, Broomfield, Fort Collins and Lafayette will give voters the chance to declare timeout – and, in one case, ban new drilling and industry-waste disposal.”
Reporter Bruce Finley presents an insightful article that covers the scope of the tug-of-war between the energy industry, political leaders, environmental activists, and concerned citizens – all of whom profess to want “what’s best” for their state and communities in the long term.
Energy executives contend that the various firms presently operating some 51,000 gas and oil wells around Colorado (and looking to greatly expand that number) are being diligent in meeting all regulations. Spokesman Doug Hock, speaking for Encana Oil and Gas USA, is quoted as saying: ”People are concerned about impacts. This is understandable. It is incumbent upon us as an industry to produce more energy in a responsible manner and the role of regulators and communities is to hold our feet to the fire to ensure that we do.”
On the other hand, there are individuals such as Boulder Councilwoman Suzanne Jones, who highlighted what is driving activists. She stated: ”People are quite upset with the state’s appearing to care more about the industry than the citizens. Our local economy is very much tied to a high quality of life – the appeal of outdoor settings, clean air, beautiful vistas. Allowing drilling within communities and our open space lands does not fit within that economic vision.”
As the Post article notes: ”…four measures on ballots and more in the works suggest widening discomfort.” NPG echoes the concern of citizens and environmental groups, and encourages our members to make their voices heard on this controversial drilling method. For more information on fracking, we invite you to review our NPG Forum paper: Is Fracking an Answer? To What?
TAPPING GREAT LAKES WATER
So near… and yet so far. That’s the dilemma of Waukesha, WI – just 15 miles from the shores of Lake Michigan.
A recent AP article written by John Flesher tells the tale of this city of 70,000 people, now faced with a water crisis that is being exacerbated by politics and government bureaucracy.
Waukesha, whose aquifer “has dropped so far that what’s left has unhealthy levels of radium and salt,” is seeking to tap into the Great Lakes watershed – which is accessed by more than 40 million people in eight U.S. states and Canada.
Flesher writes: ”If only it were that simple.”
He goes on to note: ”Though the lakes are so vast they hold one-fifth of all the fresh water on the earth’s surface, the states with rights to it have always guarded them jealously and aren’t in a generous mood, after more than a decade of abnormally low levels.”
The trouble is that Waukesha is not alone in its quest to quench its thirst and provide water for industry, etc. The AP story relates: ”A recent report identified at least seven other cities in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio that are in the same predicament as Waukesha and may come calling for lake water.”
NPG notes that too many people consistently leads to increased scarcity of – and competition for – water. As drought, pollution, and other factors negatively impact our nation’s water resources, we must be ever-mindful of the need to slow, halt, and eventually reverse population growth.
A STORY OF SOLUTIONS…
If you have a few minutes, Google-search the phrase: ”A Story of Solutions.” Join Annie Leonard as she narrates an original and educational video, using stick-figure “people” to explore how we can move our economy in a more sustainable direction. Leonard’s lesson is that we should no longer cheer a growing economy (more roads, more malls, more stuff, etc.), but change the point of the game to better – better health, better jobs and a better chance to survive on the planet.
“The Gang of Eight immigration bill is a 1,200 page legislative monstrosity. Senators had roughly 72 hours to read the final version of this massive and complex bill before the votes began. Like with Obamacare, the Senate was supposed to pass the bill in order to find out what was in it.
“But while lawmakers and the public were left in the dark, the White House strategists and special interest allies who crafted the bill knew exactly what it contained: immediate amnesty, weakened enforcement, and unending immigration.”
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)
Brietbart.com Op Ed
“The biology, chemistry and physics of the earth are imperfectly understood. It is not possible to predict precisely what some human choices may lead to, or whether some future environmental changes may be beyond human control. It is clear, however, that every additional billion people constrain further the choices available for life on earth, human and otherwise.
“Continued rapid human population growth makes it harder and more costly to solve all our problems.”
Joel E. Cohen, Daniel P. Schrag, William C. Clark
The New York Times, Letter to Editor
“The writers are, respectively, a professor of populations at Rockefeller and Columbia Universities, director of the Harvard Center for the Environment and director of the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard.”
“That’s 20 years – 20 years to come up with a report on the costs and benefits.”
Congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA)
Chastising DHS on the failure to implement a biometric entry-exit system
WHY THE NPG JOURNAL?
The NPG Journal (offered free to all recipients) exists to give more widespread distribution to timely news stories and articles related to population, immigration, environmental, and political issues that currently affect our daily life – or have the potential to seriously impact our future.
We realize not all news stories covering population issues will reflect NPG policies and goals. One of our main purposes in creating the NPG Journal is to expose these items to a wider audience, and to draw attention to the fact that many articles speak to immigration and population issues yet fail to address the central cause of many problems: Too Many People.
Ultimately, NPG would like to see writers at all levels make the obvious (to us, at least) connection between environmental and resource problems and the growing number of people in both the United States and the world. Unfortunately, most do not. To that end, we comment as necessary to help our readers see those links, in hopes they will continue to speak out on what we deem to be the most pressing issue of our time – population size and growth.
NPG President Donald Mann offers his personal insight and commentary on individual stories, especially those that challenge, confirm and/or complement our NPG Forum papers and research. The goal of the NPG Journal is to greatly expand NPG’s educational mission. NPG’s activities continue to emphasize the need for Americans to speak up on population issues and keep our nation – especially our elected leaders on the national, state, and local levels – focused on taking action to help resolve today’s immigration crisis and work to slow, halt, and eventually reverse America’s population growth.
We welcome your feedback to articles posted on the NPG Journal, and urge you to forward to us the e-mail addresses of friends you think would like to receive a complimentary copy of the NPG Journal on a monthly basis. Contact us at NPG@NPG.org.
Negative Population Growth, Inc. (NPG) is a national nonprofit membership organization with over 30,000 members. It was founded in 1972 to educate the American public and political leaders regarding the devastating effects of overpopulation on our environment, resources, and standard of living. We believe that our nation is already vastly overpopulated in terms of the long-range carrying capacity of its resources and environment.
World population, now over 7.3 billion, is predicted to rise to 9 billion by 2050, an increase of almost two billion, or 23%, in the short space of only 34 years from now.In the highly unlikely event that per capita greenhouse gas emissions could possibly be decreased by an equal percentage in such a short space of time (a blink of an eye) the total amount of worldwide emission would remain the same!
From this simple illustration it would appear that without drastically reducing the size of world population, there is no solution to the problem.None at all.So then why do our world leaders pretend that there is one?What is to be gained by pretending rather than by proposing a solution that would solve the problem – a reduction in the size of world population to not more than 1- 2 billion?
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