Zachery Waitrovich – $1,000 Winner

We are pleased to announce the winners of our 2015 NPG Essay Scholarship Contest. Each year, NPG conducts an Essay Scholarship for high school and undergradute students.
In 2015 the topic was:

Should the United States’ government pursue population policies to protect our quality of life for future generations?

Click here to see all the winning essays

By Zachery Waitrovich, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

State mandated curriculum in Wisconsin requires all high school freshman to take a survey biology course. Within that course, students study many branches of biology such as ecology, specifically pertaining to environments’ carrying capacity. Increasing population, in the United States and abroad, directly correlates to decreasing carrying capacity. To protect our quality of life for future generations, the United States’ government must pursue policies aimed at gradually decreasing the population to a sustainable level. These policies should directly focus on immigration, education, and birth control.

Immigration, legal and otherwise, plays a major part in the explosive population growth in the US. One of the first steps in reducing the population to an optimal level would be to decrease the number of annual legal immigrants to a level that is close to matching the number of annual emigrants. This means reducing the number of immigrants by over a million. There is always a lot of tension between state governments and the federal government, but there must be strict cooperation and compliance with the issue of immigration policies and regulations. Even one state that refuses to comply undermines all the federal authority and signals to immigrants that there may be loopholes and sanctuaries. Illegal aliens must be quickly and efficiently processed and deported. Even smaller than the state governments are the local and small business owners that must comply with federal regulations that forbid employing illegal immigrants.

While immigration reform would provide some immediate relief from over population, education is the key to long-term success. This education would need to happen on several levels. The government should integrate mandatory lessons on environment, population, and development into school curricula at both primary and high school levels. All too soon the younger generations are going to be in positions of influence. As a society, the US needs to eliminate gender bias in both education opportunity and career opportunity and advancement. Students, especially female students, should be guaranteed education through high school, and beyond that, given amply post-secondary opportunity.

Policy concerning birth control also has a major role to play in reversing overpopulation. Starting in schools, we need age appropriate sexuality education for all students. Both genders should also have adequate access to contraceptives and educational material concerning birth control. The government need to end all policies that financially reward parents based on how many children they have. These policies are outdated relics predominantly from the time of the Great Depression. In place of these policies, the government should publicly endorse two or less children per household. The money that used to go to parents with many children can be redistributed to make up for tax incentives for couples with no children or parents with only one or two children.

The United States was built of immigrants, but the time is past ripe to limit immigration. The nation has no had a need for immigrants for generations and generations. The government must develop policies that focus on reducing the population through humane and humanitarian methods. These policies include immigration reform, education, and birth control. Perhaps within a few years, freshman biology students will be learning about carrying capacity in relation to human population and the dangers of overpopulation. If the United States can turn around it’s population growth, it can become an example to other nations and an influential leader in negative population growth.