COMMENTARY by NPG President Donald Mann
Last week newspapers around the world announced the latest update from the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which detailed how climate change is already being felt across America.
In its introduction, the USGCRP’s Third National Climate Assessment states: “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.” In its coverage of the story, Huffington Post noted: “The full report, at more than 800 pages, is the most comprehensive look at the effects of climate change in the U.S. to date, according to its authors… The report includes regional and sectoral breakdowns of current and anticipated impacts, which have implications for infrastructure, agriculture, human health, and access to water.”
As I read the report, I couldn’t help but think – if we substitute the words “population growth” for “climate change,” we would be talking about a problem that should be just as worrisome to every American, especially our nation’s leaders. It should get the same national attention!
Climate change has had dramatic, harmful effects on many aspects of American life. So, too, will increasing immigration and population growth.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against the government meeting its responsibility to research, highlight, and sound the alarm on climate change. It’s a critical problem that must be addressed before it is too late.
However, U.S. population growth has had – and will continue to have – just as many dire consequences for our nation’s social, economic, and environmental future. Yet, for all of our efforts to bring it to the forefront of national debate, this critical issue is still dismissed by our elected officials.
Regarding the National Climate Assessment, the Huffington Post noted: “A 60-person advisory committee comprised of government, private and academic representatives oversaw the assessment, which took four years and involved more than 300 scientists, engineers, and technical experts.”
If only NPG could convince the government to make such a full-fledged commitment to assess U.S. population growth – establishing a dedicated committee of experts to research the issue, and releasing a major report on its dangers.
To succeed, any such commission would have to be comprised of members who are open to realistically evaluating the need to reduce our nation’s population to a much lower, sustainable level. This would also require open-minded discussion of the need to significantly reduce immigration – both legal and illegal, which is responsible for over 80% of U.S. population growth.
The last time our government undertook such a project was in the early 1970s, when then-President Richard Nixon established the Rockefeller Commission on Population and the American Future. The Commission’s final report in 1972 was substantive, and clearly recommended the adoption of an official national population policy.
The report also stated: “…we have concluded that, in the long run, no substantial benefits will result from further growth of the Nation’s population, rather that the gradual stabilization of our population through voluntary means would contribute significantly to the Nation’s ability to solve its problems. We have looked for, and have not found, any convincing economic argument for continued population growth. The health of our country does not depend on it, nor does the vitality of business nor the welfare of the average person.”
Unfortunately, the Rockefeller Commission’s report – with its realistic predictions and well-founded conclusions – was summarily dismissed by President Nixon. Thusly, the Commission’s chance to have any major impact on our nation was derailed.
The time for reviving such a commission is long overdue. The visionary statements from the Rockefeller report are as true today as they were in 1972. The time is now for our nation to establish a credible Commission and publish a National Population Growth Assessment. We must create – and implement – an official national population policy.
For over 40 years, NPG has been on the front lines of this battle – and with the loyal support of members like you, we will continue our mission to educate the American public and policymakers regarding the dangers of U.S. population growth.
Join NPG in the fight and help us protect America’s future. Visit our website to get involved today!
BIODEGRADABLE PLASTIC – IS IT FINALLY HERE?
We’ve all heard about the giant swaths of non-biodegradable plastic debris floating in the middle of the world’s oceans, posing a huge threat to aquatic life. It is said that the largest rotating heap of garbage, lying off the coast of California, is the size of Texas and only gets bigger every year.
A recent article published in Policy Mic holds out hope that there could be a real solution in the works to put an end to this environmental travesty. The article, authored by Eileen Shim, notes that scientists at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute may be close to a solution – turning plastic into a more biodegradable product.
These researchers have had significant success with using shrimp shells (typically used in fertilizers and cosmetics) to “create a material that is strong, transparent and renewable. They’ve named it ‘shrilk.’” Its main component is chitosan, a form of chitin, which is described as “the second most abundant organic compound in the world.”
The article notes: “Over the past decade, we have produced more plastic than in the entirety of the 20th century, and half was for single-use products such as soda cups, straws and plastic bags.”
Shim concludes: “…a new material like shrilk could be a true game-changer, not only in the conservation movement, but in global consumer behavior… It will be many years before something like shrilk can be mass-produced and introduced to average consumers. But given that in our lifetime, we’ll never be able to clean up all the plastic trash we’ve already produced, it’s certainly the right step to find a suitable alternative….”
NPG applauds the efforts of these scientists, whose ingenuity has introduced a less harmful alternative to our world. As we work to slow, halt, and eventually reverse our nation’s population growth, we must embrace every opportunity to better care for our fragile environment.
CHAIRMAN GOODLATTE REFLECTS ON IMMIGRATION REFORM
Any immigration reform legislation that comes up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives has to first go through the House Judiciary Committee – where Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R – VA) reigns as chairman.
In a recent front page article in The Washington Times, reporter Kelly Riddell focused on a number of topics pending before the Judiciary Committee. Riddell particularly zeroed-in on the Chairman’s philosophy regarding when, where, and how an immigration bill will (if ever) make it to the House floor for debate.
Riddell’s report noted: “Lawmakers agree that deporting the estimated 12 million people in the U.S. illegally is unrealistic, Mr. Goodlatte said, but giving people who came to the U.S. unlawfully a special pathway to citizenship is unfair – especially to those who are trying to go through the process legally, he said.
“Mr. Goodlatte worked for years as an immigration lawyer helping people from more than 70 countries migrate to the U.S. through legal measures. He was representing clients who were going through the lengthy legalization process in 1986 when Congress passed an immigration bill granting amnesty to 3 million illegals. That action angered him then, as the thought of doing it again angers him now.
“‘One of my main criticisms of the Senate bill is that it gives a special pathway to citizenship,’ said Mr. Goodlatte. ‘It gives them a legal status before the enforcement is up and it gives them things that people who work hard and try to get lawfully can’t have.’
“Only when the nation’s borders are secure and enforcement is operating efficiently should some sort of legal status be granted to undocumented people, Mr. Goodlatte said.”
While NPG may dispute Chairman Goodlatte’s desire to increase the number of visas for highly skilled laborers, we agree entirely with his position on amnesty/citizenship for illegal aliens. With our nation’s borders still far from “secure” and our immigration system certainly not “operating efficiently,” it may be quite a while before a major immigration reform bill clears his committee.
COLORADO RIVER WOES
Overpopulation has its consequences.
That fact is being driven home to more than 40 million people who presently live near the Colorado River Basin, as the recent drought continues to takes its toll.
A recent article by Brett Walton, writing in Circle of Blue, focuses on how water managers from seven states – Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, California, and Nevada – are hard at work, planning for a time when an extended drought could lead to a shutdown of hydropower generation, functionally-empty lakes, and restrictions on water use.
Walton quotes Don Osler, executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, as stating: “We’ve never had to do this before because we never planned for this degree of low water storage.”
Worries for what’s to come in the near future stem from the fact that Colorado River flows have been above average in only 3 of the past 14 years.
Deciding who, what, and where will take an economic hit – if and when water has to be strictly allocated – is a critical concern that is being negotiated now, rather than in a future crisis scenario.
The article highlights how water use in the area is managed: “An interstate agreement nearly a century ago divided the Colorado River for legal purposes into an upper basin [CO, NM, UT, and WY] and a lower basin [AZ, NV, CA]. The two basins operate somewhat independently, and each is holding its own discussions.”
Besides distribution of hydropower, the issues of farmers’ access to water will play out against recreation and environmental constraints, and the amount of water each is allotted. Reviewing the two main proposed options for resolution, Doug Kenney, a water policy expert at the University of Colorado Natural Resources Law Center, noted: “As long as they don’t try to be too picky about who owns that water, then I think it is totally realistic. If they want to be picky, then all sorts of legal issues and potential problems come forward.”
NPG highlights that concern for the Colorado River’s ability to sustain the growing population within its basin has been a decades-long argument – with little effort made to limit population growth in the area. The following population growth figures for the seven states affected underscore the problem:
|State||1990 Census||2013 Estimates|
|(Population in millions)|
(Note: Colorado River water mainly serves Southern California, the
fastest growing area of that state.)
For more information on U.S. water shortages, we recommend our NPG Forum paper The Southwest: Ground-Zero for Global Warming. What’s the future of water in the Colorado basin? Stay tuned.
ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AS U.S. SOLDIERS
There has been a recent move afoot in Congress to award instant citizenship to illegal aliens – in exchange for their serving in the U.S. military.
NPG joins with other national organizations in condemning this idea as both wrongheaded and dangerous. Most certainly, this shortsighted idea attempts to “cheapen” the priceless sacrifice of the valiant men and women who have served our nation – they did so out of pride for America’s heritage, and concern for its future freedoms. To offer that great privilege as the “price tag for citizenship” dishonors their gift, and their legacy of selfless service.
This plan also offers encouragement to those who would manipulate our failed immigration system, coming here illegally to fast-track their way to citizenship. It discredits the millions of lawful immigrants who have patiently waited for years to be recognized through the legal process.
NPG also shares the concerns put forth by Heritage Foundation experts David Inserra and Cully Stimpson, who highlight the new security concerns such a policy would bring forth. They recently wrote:
“They [illegal immigrants] would be required to take an oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States’ even though they are still technically citizens of other countries. And although there have been non-citizens who have served honorably in the U.S. armed forces in the past, the nation is engaged in a unique type of war today against a non-state actor that cannot be easily identified. Additionally, since very little may be known about these individuals, the risk of recruiting dangerous individuals increases. This risk is amplified by the fact that the promise of backdoor instant citizenship may draw individuals who do not actually believe in the mission of the U.S. military.”
However, at its core, this proposal is yet another shortsighted “solution” to America’s immigration crisis. One after the other, shabbily-constructed plans are tossed out onto the Congressional floor to be debated as a way to fix the mess, but there is little to no thought of the consequences. Offering U.S. citizenship at the cost of military service is not the answer. Taking the time, finding the initiative, and weathering the inevitable storm of political pressure to address our immigration crisis – one issue at a time – is the key. In the end, we must find an immigration solution that does not contribute to U.S. population growth.
QUESTIONING DEPORTATION NUMBERS
Perform a simple Google search of “U.S. deportations,” and you will find many results proclaiming the current White House administration’s success in deporting illegal immigrants.
In a recent report on Vox.com, Dara Lind writes: “President Obama is going to leave the White House having deported more immigrants than any other president in history – at least 2 million deportations to date.”
Yet upon closer inspection, writing in Townhall.com columnist Conn Carroll notes: “But what Lind fails to mention is that Obama is completely cooking the books to arrive at those numbers. The Los Angeles Times explains:
“‘Until recent years, most people caught illegally crossing the southern border were simply bused back into Mexico in what officials called ‘voluntary returns,’ but which critics derisively termed ‘catch and release.’ Those removals, which during the 1990s reached more than 1 million a year, were not counted in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s deportation statistics.
“‘Now, the vast majority of border crossers who are apprehended get fingerprinted and formally deported. …In the Obama years, all of the increase in deportations has involved people picked up within 100 miles of the border, most of whom have just recently crossed over. In 2013, almost two-thirds of deportations were in that category.’”
Carroll notes: “But don’t take the LA Times word for it. Just look at Obama’s own Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Asked by Rep. John Culberson (R – TX), ‘Under the Obama administration, more than half of those removals that were attributed to ICE are actually a result of Border Patrol arrests that wouldn’t have been counted in prior administrations,’ Johnson replied, ‘Correct.’”
NPG has long denounced the practice of making false claims within immigration enforcement statistics. It serves no positive purpose to hype numbers, and only serves to give the American public a false sense of security that we are getting illegal immigration under control. For NPG, immigration is – at its core – about the numbers. And when the government’s own source for those numbers is unreliable at best, what hope is there for our nation to effectively address our immigration-driven population growth?
COALITION OF SENATORS FIGHTS FOR LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION
Who says bi-partisanship is a thing of the past on Capitol Hill?
There are quite a few issues where Senators unite to save a proven and valuable program. One of those was on display recently, when 51 Senators signed a letter requesting Fiscal Year 2015 funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and Forest Legacy Program. Addressed to Senator Jack Reed (D – RI), who is the Chairman of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the letter asked that Reed fight for the government’s “strong investment.”
This important fund – which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2015 – plays a huge and valuable role in programs that “protect natural resource lands, outdoor recreation opportunities, and working forests at the local, state and federal levels.” The Senators’ plea for continued adequate funding seeks to ensure that critical “wildlife habitats, hunting and fishing access, state and local parks, Civil War battlefields, productive forests and other important lands are protected for current and future generations.”
In their letter, the Senators highlighted:
“LWCF is also a critical tool to acquire inholdings, expand public lands and protect national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, wild and scenic river corridors, national scenic and historic trails, Bureau of Land Management lands and other federal areas.” They go on to note: “These LWCF and Forest Legacy expenditures also create important savings for our federal agencies and the public in the long term because they secure land that provides valuable water resources, guard against incompatible development, support private working lands, and reduce fire risk.”
In speaking out on this issue, the Senators are hoping to restore stability and strong funding to this much-needed program. They also note: “…more than $18 billion has been siphoned from the LWCF trust fund since the program’s inception in 1965, diverted from their original conservation purpose. This chronic redirection of funding has created a large backlog of conservation needs across the country, including already-negotiated land acquisitions from willing sellers.”
As an organization that fights hard to protect open spaces in all areas from encroachment by population growth, NPG fully endorses the Senators’ plea to Chairman Reed.
NPG 2014 SCHOLARSHIPS
ESSAY AND PHOTO COMPETITIONS CLOSE
Our NPG Scholarship competitions have come to a close for 2014. We wish to extend our thanks for the generous support of NPG members who made these scholarships possible – as well as to the thousands of students across the country who entered this year’s contests. Over the next several weeks, we will review all submissions and carefully select the winning essays and photographs we feel best embrace the NPG message and mission.
By summer’s end, we will formally announce the winners – who will receive NPG scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,500 – on our website.
With the generous support of members like you, NPG is constantly expanding our outreach to America’s schools. Each year, we bring our critical message to students at all levels – enlisting our nation’s next generation of leaders in the fight to slow, halt, and eventually reverse U.S. population growth.
Be sure to visit our website in the coming months to see the winning essays and photographs!
“The preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that immigration enforcement in America has collapsed.”
– U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions
“Exposure to the natural environment reduces stress and helps us focus. We need nature – and nature needs us – to treat it well. Additionally, we need to redefine sustainable living as something that sustains us not only environmentally but also economically. If we cannot figure out how to create a sustainable economic model along with a sustainable environmental model, then any fix won’t last – just ask any company or individual facing bankruptcy.”
– Jackie Gingrich Cushman
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: U.S. overpopulation.
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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