We are pleased to announce the winners of our 2013 NPG Essay Scholarship Contest. Each year, NPG conducts an Essay Scholarship for high school and undergradute students.
Explain how population growth has negatively affected your community. What solutions do you propose to ensure a decent quality of life for your generation 30 years from now?
By Sarah Fine
Noel, Missouri is small, but it occupies a huge part of my heart. My great-great-grandfather was the town’s first sheriff, and my great-grandfather was the mayor. I spent childhood summers there, canoeing on the Elk River, exploring the bluffs and caves, and enjoying peaceful walks in the woods. Noel was always quiet. Two years ago, when I arrived in Noel for the summer, I found that something had changed. The Tyson plant, the city’s largest employer, had undergone a massive transformation. Namely, it had hired roughly 100 Somali refugees (Tyson received a tax credit for employing them). This had displaced several of the plant’s American workers, who were now left without jobs or means to support their families. Over the past two years, the Noel I knew and loved as a child has disappeared. Unemployment has risen dramatically, and several former Tyson workers are still unemployed. Charming houses and historic buildings have been demolished and replaced with ugly apartment complexes to accommodate a growing population. While as a child I felt that Noel was a vast, beautiful place, when I returned this year I was saddened to find that it was simply not large enough.
This is not an uncommon situation. While other settlements like Noel may not be laden with refugees, overpopulation, especially by illegal immigrants, is becoming a major issue for every small town trying to preserve its heritage and its livelihood. Fortunately, Americans have the power to counteract these encumbrances.
The first solution to this inundation is simple: immigration policies must be reformed. America needs to protect its borders from non-Americans who try to enter the country illegally. This would entail an immediate cancellation of the “anchor baby” policy (a constitutional amendment guaranteeing American citizenship as a birthright). In 2008, the Pew Research Center think tank in Washington D.C. found that 73% of all children of illegal immigrants were citizens of the United States. This is a massive burden on the state. A rewrite of the Fourteenth Amendment would annul the flawed birthright citizenship policy, thus bringing an end to “anchor babies” and reducing the wave of unauthorized immigrants flooding to America every year. Furthermore, harsher penalties for illegal entry of the country should be instituted. It’s clear from the estimated illegal immigrant population (anywhere from 7 to 20 million as of 2012) that the mere threat of deportation is not deterrent enough; stricter laws need to be placed to prevent businesses from employing aliens, and these laws need to be adequately enforced. If illegal immigrants know they cannot support themselves in the United States, they will likely reconsider unauthorized entry.
The United States may also benefit from a reform of legal immigration policy. Countries such as Germany, Australia, and Canada have adopted policies that favor highly-skilled or highly-educated people in the naturalization process. Adoption of these policies greatly reduces the number of immigrants eligible for naturalization, and also ensures that once people enter the country they have means to support themselves and to benefit their new homeland.
Noel and places like it across America might also profit from a better-controlled domestic population. Noel is small, old-fashioned, and religious; families of six or seven are not uncommon there, and severance pay from the Tyson factory simply cannot feed seven people. Americans need to understand the benefits of smaller families. Countries like China, which strictly limit the number of children parents can have, take the idea too far, but friendly and scientifically-supported campaigns have worked wonders in the past; Americans united in the 1940s to conserve rubber, aluminum, and food for their troops, and there’s no reason they can’t unite again to save themselves. A well-planned campaign encouraging parents to be happy with one or two children would not only immediately benefit them financially, but would also improve the job market and decrease government spending in the long term, making for better lives for their children and grandchildren.
America has given us so much and asked for so little in return. Like a mother who has sacrificed everything for her children, she deserves our respect. But like a mother, she cannot be expected to constantly be burdened with new children. Any parent of more than two children can tell you how challenging it is to manage a crowded house, and America is no different. If we want to save our beloved home from exhaustion, heartache, and eventual destruction, we must act now to control our population and to ensure a bright future for this great country.
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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