Deputy Director’s Corner

Deputy Director’s Corner
NPG Deputy Director Tracy Canada can be reached by email at tcanada@npg.org.

After celebrating Earth Day yesterday, the environmental impact of today’s world is certainly at the forefront of my mind. All across America this weekend, millions of environmentally-aware citizens are packing into stadiums and coliseums, reviewing “green technology” expos and watching parades – all in the name of protecting the fragile Earth we call home.

Sadly, most of these celebrations, fairs, and expos will ignore one of the most significant sources of environmental destruction: U.S. population growth. Yet the evidence of this critical link is all around us.

Just days ago, the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2016 report ranked California as having the nation’s most polluted air. According to the study, Los Angeles has the worst “harmful ozone pollution from car tailpipes emitting smog” – and Bakersfield has the most “unhealthy days from airborne particles spewed by highway traffic, diesel trucks, farm equipment and fireplaces….” I find this situation to be absolutely no surprise considering California is the nation’s most populous state – with a current population of roughly 40 million, projected to reach 50 million people by 2050. Those people will need houses, jobs, schools, and hospitals – and they will put more cars on California’s roads in order to get to those locations.

This is true all across America – yet our nation
continues to grow by an average of
1 person every 13 seconds.

NPG is not alone in seeing this link between population growth and environmental decline – especially when it comes to climate change. A report titled Global Demographic Trends and Future Carbon Emissions found that a “low trajectory of world population growth could contribute between 16 and 29% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions savings needed by 2050″ to prevent global warming by another 2 degrees Celsius.

To put that into perspective, that is roughly the same CO2 emissions we would cut “by ending all deforestation by the same year.”

The report put it quite simply: “Family planning would have a substantial environmental benefit.” NPG feels the report provides real incentive for the implementation of an official U.S. population policy. All of us – from concerned citizens to environmental organizations to population groups like NPG – must stand together and demand that our elected officials oppose population growth. (For more information, see NPG’s Proposed National Population Policy.) NPG will continue our work to educate more of our nation’s citizens and elected officials regarding the damaging impact of U.S. population growth on our environment, economy, natural resources, and quality of life.

SPECIAL NOTEI also wanted to take a moment and thank each of you for your participation in our recent Online Programs appeal. Only because of your support, we are able to continue moving forward with our regular email commentary – and reach out to even more Americans through online avenues. Remember – NPG receives absolutely no government funding of any kind. Thanks to YOUR generous contributions, we can reach more concerned citizens with our critical message and engage them to join us in the fight for America’s future!

Thank you again for all you do!

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Tracy Henke

Tracy Henke served as Deputy Director of NPG from 2012 to 2017, contributing to the structure and development of NPG’s publications programs. Acting as NPG’s principal editor and a contributing author – as well as a regular contact for the public and media, Tracy extensively researched U.S. population issues and worked to establish significant grassroots support for the NPG mission. She holds a degree in Leadership & Social Change from Virginia Tech, with a professional background in non-profit and program management.

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