Points for Reflection
Revised July, 2016
These are for a long leisure moment. Read them and ponder. The principles and policies advocated by SEPS are not original with us, nor is the knowledge base that prompts them. These all have long histories, histories as old as common sense. Below are statements made over the years by a diverse assemblage of scientists and environmentalists, philosophers and philanthropists, politicians, preachers, demographers and other thinkers. Though they disagree – or disagreed – on many other matters, they all recognize human overpopulation as one of the greatest threats to the U.S., to other peoples, and to the natural world. (Click on photo for larger image, close large image to return to this page.)
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"If the earth must lose that great portion of its pleasantness which it owes to things that the unlimited increase of wealth and population would extirpate from it, for the mere purpose of enabling it to support a larger, but not a better or happier population, I sincerely hope, for the sake of posterity, that they will be content to be stationary, long before necessity compels them to it."
John Stuart Mill, in Principles of Political Economy, 1848
"Retain the power of speech no matter what other power you may lose. If you can take this course, and in so far as you take it, you will bless this country. In so far as you depart from this course, you become dampers, mutes, and hooded executioners. … Try to raise a voice that will be heard from here to Albany and watch what comes forward to shut off the sound. It is not a German sergeant, nor a Russian officer of the precinct. It is a note from a friend of your father's, offering you a place at his office. This is your warning from the secret police. … Do what you will, but speak out always. Be shunned, be hated, be ridiculed, be scared, be in doubt, but don't be gagged. The time of trial is always. Now is the appointed time."
John Jay Chapman, in Commencement Address to the Graduating Class of Hobart College, 1900
"If only Malthus, instead of Ricardo, had been the parent stem from which nineteenth-century economics proceeded, what a much wiser and richer place the world would be to-day!"
John Maynard Keynes, in Robert Malthus: The First of Cambridge Economists, 1933
"It seems to me that even in countries like the U.S.A., the population is above the economic optimum; that is, we have more people even there than is most desirable from the standpoint of the natural resources which we possess. That does not mean that a rapid decrease in population would be desirable, but I think it does mean that if we could choose between a stationary population of say, 100,000,000 and 150,000,000 or 200,000,000 we should without question be better off with the former."
P.K. Whelpton, in What Is the Optimum Population?, 1948
"From the standpoint of national power, an additional aspect of the problem needs emphasizing. Not only does national income cease at some theoretical point to grow in proportion to the rise in population, but the ways in which the income is produced and distributed are altered – and they are altered in such a way as to weaken the nation… One [disadvantage] is that an equitable distribution of the national product, if it should occur, would mean virtually no opportunity for capital development. Funds would be invested in immediate necessities rather than productive enterprise. By a sort of functional adaptation, therefore, most of the societies with excess numbers have evolved a rigid social stratification whereby a small but wealthy elite runs the government and the economy, the bulk of the population being in great poverty."
Kingsley Davis, in The Demographic Foundations of National Power, 1954
"The left and the right joined forces with fatuity at a terrible price to be paid later."
Winston S. Churchill, referring to British politics just prior to World War II, in Memoirs of the Second World War, 1959
"The demand for invasion of wilderness-sanctuary areas for water storage and power dams, oil rights, iron ore, irrigation, forests, farm lands, and so on is now but a gentle movement in comparison to what it will be with our predicted population of even forty years hence (which presumably will be two times our present one, or 340 million…)… As I see it, the stages that accompany population density growth will take approximately the following insidious steps: First, we see the need for wilderness areas; for their beauty, their peace, their scientific value. We restrict the wilderness areas to foot travel or to horse travelers, but their numbers will increase along with the trails until one is never out of sight or sound of others. Then there will be more trails added to dilute the density of the hikers on the trails… Following this there will be pressure for access roads – for fire protection, chiefly, or for those that don't have the hardihood to do it on their own feet or on horseback… Then there will be requests for fixed campsites to localize the damage from people in the area… A store, then stores, to supply food for more campers… Then we will see demands rising for the establishment of inns, as they will be called, but they will be hotels… Then there will be demand for amusements associated with these inns and resting places to beguile the people who are bored during the hours of evening and night when they can't see anything… Ultimately – because we no longer have a wilderness – subdivision could logically follow. Who cares beyond that?"
Raymond B. Cowles, in Wilderness and the Camel's Nose, 1960
"Solutions for today and tomorrow are perhaps not so difficult to contrive – send tractors to India, and hybrid corn to Egypt. But the day after tomorrow? The fact of the matter is that a solution must be found. That old dog Malthus turned out to be very substantially correct in his dire predictions, and there seems to be no point in waiting until the United States is like India before moving in on the problem."
William F. Buckley Jr., in The Birth Rate, 1965
"Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess. What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution, but the universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and education of the billions who are its victims."
Martin Luther King Jr., speech on acceptance of the Planned Parenthood Federation Of America's Margaret Sanger Award, 1966
"If the human population of the world continues to increase at its current rate, there will soon be no room for either wild life or wild places… But I believe that sooner or later man will learn to limit his overpopulation. Then he will be much more concerned with optimum rather than maximum, quality rather than quantity, and will recover the need within himself for contact with wilderness and wild nature."
Sir Peter Scott, in The Eye of the Wind: An Autobiography, 1966
"One of the most serious challenges to human destiny in the last third of this century will be the growth of the population. Whether man's response to that challenge will be a cause for pride or for despair in the year 2000 will depend very much on what we do today. If we now begin our work in an appropriate manner, and if we continue to devote a considerable amount of attention and energy to this problem, then mankind will be able to surmount this challenge as it has surmounted so many during the long march of civilization."
U.S. President Richard Nixon, in his challenge to his Presidential Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, 1969
1969: "The Sierra Club urges the people of the United States to abandon population growth as a pattern and goal; to commit themselves to limit the total population of the United States in order to achieve balance between population and resources; and to achieve a stable population no later than the year 1990." ... 1970: "[The Sierra Club resolves] that we must find, encourage, and implement at the earliest possible time the necessary policies, attitudes, social standards, and actions that will, by voluntary and humane means consistent with human rights and individual conscience, bring about the stabilization of the population first of the United States and then of the world."... 1978: "All nations of the world, including developed nations, should formulate and participate in programs designed to curb their own population growth; and all developed nations, including the United States, being the countries with impact on the world environment disproportionate to their population sizes, have an obligation both to end their population growth as soon as feasible and to substantially reduce their consumption of this planet's non-renewable resources."
Sierra Club National Board of Directors, in formally adopted Sierra Club resolutions, 1969-1978
"We now know that the fantastic rate of population growth we have witnessed these past 20 years continues with no letup in sight. If this growth rate is not checked now – in this decade – we face a danger that is as defenseless as nuclear war… Unless this problem is recognized and made manageable, starvation, pestilence, and war will solve it for us. As our task force seeks solutions to the problems of resources, environment and population, it becomes apparent to us that the present rate of population growth is related to many of our economic and social ills."
Rep. George H.W. Bush, in speech on floor of U.S. House of Representatives, 24 February 1969
"The green revolution has won a temporary success in man's war against hunger and deprivation; it has given man a breathing space. If fully implemented, the revolution can provide sufficient food for sustenance during the next three decades. But the frightening power of human reproduction must also be curbed; otherwise the success of the green revolution will be ephemeral only. Most people still fail to comprehend the magnitude and menace of the "Population Monster"."
Norman Borlaug, in Nobel Lecture: The Green Revolution, Peace and Humanity, 1970
"It would be very desirable as a goal in this country to reduce population growth rate to zero."
Lee DuBridge, in How to Control Population: Interview with the President's Science Adviser, 1970
"Clemenceau's dictum, "War is much too serious a matter to be entrusted to the military," is applicable to the subject of population. The question whether we have a population problem in the United States and, if so, what should be done about it, is much too important to be left to the demographers. Many demographers are among the first to agree. … In Malthusian terms, the claim that the United States has a population problem cannot be supported. Our population is not pressing upon the domestic food supply. We are not threatened with the "positive checks" of famine or pestilence, and the third positive check – war – has a dynamic which, for the United States, is entirely independent of internal population pressures. The question whether this country has a population problem turns on a very different set of factors than those envisioned by Thomas Malthus. Instead it is related to the quality and safety of our physical and social surroundings. We must ask whether our surroundings are significantly threatened by the continuing growth in the number of persons inhabiting this continent. … Anyone who loves the outdoors and draws refreshment from its beauty, its ozone and the feel of the wind, anyone who knows the thrill of fishing, hiking, hunting, sailing, bird-watching, mountain-climbing or any other form of communion with nature, cannot help but be aware of the diminution of these forms of recreations as one wild area after another becomes overrun and trampled under foot. For Americans who cherish a feeling of involvement with the wide diversity of nature, the thought of millions and millions and millions of more people "adjusting" to an anthill culture, finally out of touch with all but man-made objects, is spine-chilling. … Population and freedom are inextricably intertwined. The larger, the more complex and the more crowded a society is – and the more its resource base is subjected to intensely competing demands – the more numerous and restrictive are the laws and regulations required for its governance."
Rufus E. Miles Jr., in Whose Baby is the Population Problem?, 1970
"It is a near-universal hope that modern technology, injected into ancient systems of agriculture, manufacturing, mining and transportation, will transform peasant societies into forward-looking states with rapidly rising standards of living. Such transformations, it is believed, will narrow the economic gap between rich and poor countries at ever-higher levels of income for both. … But the scenario of gap-closing, population growth and ever-rising production is an illusion from which the world may now be awaking, for its three elements are mutually insupportable in a finite world with limited resources. … It is equal madness to assume that the global resource base can long sustain an additional 2 or 3 billion people while the per capita consumption of fuels, minerals and food increases. Today a new relationship prevails between wealth and population. The richer a society aspires to become, the fewer additional people it can support in conditions of freedom and health. And it is a final madness to assume that the global environment – the thin, fragile biosphere – can long endure the kind of development we have talked about for the last twenty-five years. The signs of ecological breakdown are everywhere apparent in our estuaries, rivers, airsheds and wildlife populations."
William E. Moran Jr., in Population and Resources: The Coming Collision, 1970
"If the UN Conference on the Human Environment, to be held in Stockholm in 1972, faces this issue [human population as 'the basic cause of environmental problems'] squarely, there will be hope for the future. If it does not, then those individuals, agencies and governments that feel strongly on the matter, should become obnoxious in bringing the issue into uninhibited discussion."
John R. Vallentyne, in The Environmental Future, 1972
From letter of transmittal of report:
"After two years of concentrated effort, 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 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."
Key recommendations of report:
"Population Stabilization: Recognizing that our population cannot grow indefinitely, and appreciating the advantages of moving now toward the stabilization of population, the Commission recommends that the nation welcome and plan for a stabilized population.
"Immigration: The Commission recommends that immigration levels not be increased [above 400,000 per year] and that immigration policy be reviewed periodically to reflect demographic conditions and considerations. To implement this policy, the Commission recommends that Congress require the Bureau of the Census, in coordination with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, to report biennially to the Congress on the impact of immigration on the nation’s demographic situation."
John D. Rockefeller III, Chairman & 24 Commission Members in Report of the Presidential Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, 1972
"That the United States should and probably can achieve a condition of zero population growth at some time in the next hundred years is no longer a matter of much dispute… I will argue here that 210 million now is too many people and [the] 280 million [projected in 1973 for] 2040 is likely to be much too many; that, accordingly, a continued decline in fertility to well below replacement level should be encouraged, with the aim of achieving ZPG before the year 2000 and a gradually declining population for some time thereafter; and that redirecting economic growth and technological change (not stopping either) is an essential concomitant to but not a substitute for these demographic goals."
John Holdren, in Population and the American Dilemma, 1973
"Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist."
Kenneth E. Boulding, in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives on the Energy Reorganization Act, 1973
"Our country and state have a special obligation to work toward the stabilization of our own population so as to credibly lead other parts of the world towards population stabilization."
California Gov. Ronald Reagan, in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives, 1974
"Continued population growth is now widely recognized as a major component of the social, economic and environmental problems facing mankind. The inevitability of some form of stationary state is gaining wider acceptance… Conspicuous by its absence from the environmental literature, however, is the role international migration plays in the demographic and other problems facing mankind. This omission is due in part to oversight… to complexity of the topic…to fear…[and to] the seamy history of past efforts to limit immigration… It is time for environmentalists to deal with this important question. They will need to acquire knowledge in a field new to them, conquer its difficulties, and deal with controversy as they so often have in the past. Otherwise a whole new set of problems will catch us unaware, and the achievement of material equilibrium will be significantly delayed… The damaging effects of the "brain drain" have long been argued. The term originally applied to the migration of highly skilled persons and students from the war-torn yet developed countries of Europe to North America… In recent times the countries of immigration… have actively sought out the skilled persons of the world as immigrants. The clear purpose has been to stimulate and facilitate perpetual economic growth and development, a purpose only recently challenged as a social good… The international migration of skilled persons has tended to increase the gap between the less and the more developed countries. Its cessation is one step which would lead us toward a more stable and less disparate world. Internally the importation of skilled persons delays the modernization of educational systems in the more developed countries as well as those of the less developed country. For instance, doctors are imported rather than trained. This denies opportunities for upward mobility to native citizens, particularly minorities. In the United States there are more Filipino than black doctors."
John Tanton, in International Migration as an Obstacle to Achieving World Stability, 1975
"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. … I understand and sympathize with the reasonable needs of a reasonable number of people on a finite continent. All life depends upon other life. But what is happening today, in North America, is not rational use but irrational massacre. Man the Pest, multiplied to the swarming stage, is attacking the remaining forests like a plague of locusts on a field of grain."
Edward Abbey, in The Journey Home: Some Words in Defense of the American West, 1977
"Today mankind is locked into stealing ravenously from the future. That is what this book is about. It is not just a book about famine or hunger. Famine in the modern world must be read as one of several symptoms reflecting a deeper malady in the human condition – namely, diachronic competition, a relationship where contemporary well-being is achieved at the expense of our descendants. By our sheer numbers, by the state of our technological development, and by being oblivious to differences between a method that achieved lasting increments of human carrying capacity and one that achieves only temporary supplements, we made satisfaction of today's human aspirations dependent upon massive deprivation for posterity."
William R. Catton, Jr., in Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change, 1980
"While the level of admissions being discussed by the [Select Commission on Immigration and Refugees] – two and a half to five million for each five-year period -- is too high for any reasonable, long-term population policy for the United States, the general principles are sound. The adjustment of immigration levels in keeping with economic and demographic conditions, and under overall limitations, is clearly the way to go …..The commission has concluded, along with everyone else who has studied the problem, that if the flow of illegals is to be controlled, the "pull" from the United States must be stopped, and that pull is the ease of employment for the illegal after he gets here. (p. xi) …. It is absolutely scandalous that the United States of America, the richest and most powerful nation on earth, Should import so many of its skilled workers from of the poorest parts of the world. (p. 90) …..Two environmental organizations are concerned about migration policy and are worthy of support. One is Zero Population Growth (ZPG), the original population-control organization. ZPG is the leader in the campaign for a sound American population policy, of which a sound immigration policy, of course, would be an essential part … A new organization, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has been formed to deal exclusively with immigration policy. This organization is also based in the population-control movement and is dedicated to developing restrictionist policies that are humane and consistent with modern democratic values." (p. 359)
Paul R. Ehrlich, Loy Bilderback & Anne H. Ehrlich, in The Golden Door: International Migration, Mexico and the United States, 1981 update
"Pressures to immigrate to the United States have to be stopped domestically by American laws and American enforcement of those laws, because in the countries of the developing world the pressure to emigrate will continue to grow as their population explodes. Without action on our part, that pressure may prove to be irresistible… Facing the reality of a harsh and overpopulated world is not easy. The ethics and politics of such a world are still being created. But to "do good," not just "mean well," we have to accept the responsibility of making tough choices, of limiting, and of acknowledging the overwhelming pressures of human population on earth. Because of these pressures because of that reality, we have to control and limit immigration. It is in our own interests, in the interest of our nation and its citizens, and it is in the ultimate interest of the world. Immigration reform is not the death of the American dream, either for Americans or for the potential immigrants who are prospective new Americans. It is the necessary precondition for the preservation of the dream."
Colorado Gov. Richard D. Lamm & Gary Imhoff, in The Immigration Bomb: The Fragmenting of America, 1985
"We also view nations as ecosystems, i.e. as politically defined subdivisions of the Biosphere. …The use of political boundaries to define ecosystems may seem strange to ecologists and politicians alike; nevertheless we believe it is essential to effective management of the human uses and abuses of natural resources. … [A] strong case can be made for viewing nations as ecosystems in the sense that they are functionally held together by systems of industrial production, transport, communication, agriculture, law, and politics that are inextricably linked to other (nonhuman) systems of nature. … [O]nly governments have the resources to undertake systemic analyses of the flows of energy, materials, and information in large-scale systems." Jack Vallentyne & Andrew Hamilton, in Managing Human Uses and Abuses of Aquatic Resources in the Canadian Ecosystem, 1987
"[D]emocracy can not survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn't matter if someone dies. The more people there are, the less one individual matters."
Isaac Asimov, in interview on Bill Moyers's World of Ideas, 1988
"Never globalize a problem if it can possibly be solved locally…We will make no progress with population problems, which are a root cause of both hunger and poverty, until we deglobalize them…We are not faced with a single global population problem but, rather, with about 180 separate national population problems… All population controls must be applied locally. Means must fit local traditions. For one nation to attempt to impose its ethical principles on another is to violate national sovereignty and endanger international peace. The only legitimate demand that nations can make on one another is this: 'Don't try to solve your population problem by exporting your excess people to us.' All nations should take this position and most do."
Garrett Hardin, in There is No Global Population Problem, 1989
"The Sierra Club has long supported the idea that an end to population growth in the U.S. and each country around the world is essential to environmental protection. In particular, club policy calls for "development by the federal government of a population policy for the United States" and for the U.S. "to end (its) population growth as soon as feasible… Immigration to the U.S. should be no greater than that which will permit achievement of population stabilization in the U.S. This interpretation was confirmed by the Club's Conservation Coordinating Committee this past July… The Sierra Club will lend its voice to the congressional debate on legal immigration issues when appropriate, and then only on the issue of the number of immigrants - not where they come from or their category... Sierra Club statements on immigration will always make the connection between immigration, population increase in the U.S., and the environmental consequences thereof."
Sierra Club National Population Committee, from their report submitted in Spring 1989
"A large part of the responsibility for solving the human dilemma [of overpopulation] rests on the rich countries, and especially on the United States…The first step, of course, is for the United States to adopt a population policy designed to halt population growth and begin a gradual population decline… We can never have a sane immigration policy until we have a sane population policy… No sensible reason has ever been given for [the U.S.] having more than 135 million people."
Paul & Anne Ehrlich, in The Most Overpopulated Nation, 1992
"The most fundamental principle of ethical behavior, as articulated by society's seats of moral authority, is invariably some version of the Golden Rule: Love thy neighbor as thyself. This precept is deeply ingrained in individuals raised in Judeo-Christian cultures. It underlies our standard codes of neighborliness. Appeals to it can produce collective acts of remarkable generosity. It can be said, without exaggeration, that in Western societies the internalization of the Golden Rule is considered the true hallmark of civilized human beings. … In determining what immigration and refugee policies stand the test of compliance with the Golden Rule, the conclusions reached by religious leaders differ sharply from those reached by the vast majority of the American public. The difference lies, in part, in the classic dichotomy between faith and reason. "At issue is the question of how real, how immediate, and how tyrannical are our resource constraints. People of unshakable faith can afford to be rather less concerned about all this, convinced as they are that 'God will provide.' Resource management is definitely simpler for those who believe, literally or figuratively, the lessons of the five loaves of bread and a few fish multiplied to feed a crowd. Most Americans, however, whether church-affiliated or not, rely on their empirical observations that quantities do matter. That is why they choose to have small families. That is why they want to reduce, rather than expand, the incessant flow of refugees and immigrants. "These differing understandings of the nature of resource-constraints have produced a coalition of vocal religious leaders who unabashedly use their influence with politicians to plead for more refugee and immigrant admissions; on the other side we see much of the American public experiencing severe job shortages, spiraling budget deficits, a declining standard of living, a sense of cultural unraveling - and suffering from a prolonged case of 'compassion fatigue' - resisting the official policy of increased immigration admissions."
Gerda Bikales, in The Golden Rule in the Age of the Global Village, 1992
"The Earth is the Lord's, and people of faith must ensure that it is properly cared for -- including curbing humankind's overpopulating ways, according to a powerful consensus that has emerged among America's religious leaders. Officials from virtually every major faith and denomination in the country have been proclaiming in high-profile ways that protection and restoration of the natural environment is a top-priority spiritual mandate. Especially visible the last two years has been the new Joint Appeal By Religion And Science For The Environment. It has issued major statements that include population concerns and even the signatures of Catholic and Baptist representatives. "But an informal survey by The Social Contract discovered that despite the proclamations, the protection of natural resources within U.S. boundaries is not a top-priority action within religious leadership circles. "While sampling policies within the seven major U.S. religious groupings, The Social Contract failed to find a single denomination willing to preserve American ecosystems if it means tackling U.S. population growth. True, large numbers of religious organizations and offices with paid staff have arisen to take some very specific actions that go far beyond merely avoiding styrofoam cups at church coffee hours. The rising tide of green religious groups forcefully advocates reducing per capita impact through the kinds of strict regulations and consumption cuts necessary if any industrial nation is to achieve sustainable, high environmental quality. "However, while many churches acknowledge population growth as a critical factor in the world's environment, few churches even have statements that specifically note population as a factor in the welfare of the United States. Religious green leaders concentrate on reducing per capita impact while standing mute as the number of U.S. "capitas" soars. One begins to wonder if the strategy is to stop world population growth and world environmental degradation without any individual countries having to take action within their own borders. … If the factors of immigration, fertility and consumption are allowed to continue to independently float without any accountability to their ecological impact, pronouncements about the spiritual mandate to protect and restore the natural environment are little more than moral posturing."
Roy Beck, in Religions and the Environment: Commitment High Until U.S. Population Issues Raised, 1992
"The raging monster upon the land is population growth. In its presence, sustainability is but a fragile, theoretical concept. To say, as many do, that the difficulties of nations are not due to people but to poor ideology or land-use management is sophistic."
Edward O. Wilson, in The Diversity of Life, 1992
"Thus, conservation biologists have an obligation to provide leadership in addressing the human population problem and developing solutions. We must overcome ignorance, religious fervor, economic and political momentum, and bullying… We encourage two avenues of pursuit for conservation biologists. First, we should seek more interactions with our colleagues in demography, sociology, epidemiology, and other relevant fields… Second, and vastly more important than continued study of the problem, is strong and unmistakable advocacy of human population control by conservation scientists. The greatest need is for general education of the populace in all countries. Most people simply do not understand even the rudiments of the problem or its implications, and certainly not its magnitude."
Gary K. Meffe, Anne H. Ehrlich & David Ehrenfeld, in Human Population Control: The Missing Agenda, 1993
"Our lack of understanding and inability to predict mandate a much more cautious approach to resource exploitation than is the norm. Here are some suggestions for management… Rely on scientists to recognize problems but not to remedy them… Distrust claims of sustainability. Because past resource exploitation has seldom been sustainable, any new plan that involves claims of sustainability should be suspect… The work of the Brundtland Commission suffers from continual references to sustainability that is to be achieved in an unspecified way. Recently some of the world's leading ecologists have claimed that the key to a sustainable biosphere is research on a long list of standard research topics in ecology [Sustainable Biosphere Initiative, ESA, 1991]. Such a claim that basic research will (in an unspecified way) lead to sustainable use of resources in the face of a growing human population may lead to a false complacency: instead of addressing the problems of population growth and excessive use of resources, we avoid such difficult issues by spending money on basic ecological research."
Donald Ludwig, Ray Hilborn & Carl Walters, in Uncertainty, Resource Exploitation, and Conservation: Lessons from History, 1993
"There will be those who say, "Oh, it is our duty to receive as many as possible of these people and to share our prosperity with them, as we have so long been doing." But suppose there are limits to our capacity to absorb. Suppose the effect of such a policy is to create, in the end, conditions within this country no better than those of the places the mass of immigrants have left: the same poverty, the same distress. What we shall then have accomplished is not to have appreciably improved conditions in the Third World (for even the maximum numbers we could conceivably take would be only a drop from the bucket of the planet's overpopulation) but to make this country itself a part of the Third World (as certain parts of it already are), thus depriving the planet of one of the few great regions that might have continued, as it now does, to be helpful to the remainder of the world by its relatively high standard of civilization, by its quality as example, by its ability to shed insight on the problems of the others and to help them find their answers to their own problems."
George F. Kennan, in Around The Cragged Hill: A Personal And Political Philosophy, 1994
"Many children face a prospect of a world which has been devastated of its forest cover and lost many of its species. Would it not be worthwhile to reinforce that enormous investment in the future, that grand gesture of hope in the future by chipping in just a little bit more, that one penny per day for family planning facilities? To insure that our children inherit a world worth living in. A world where population growth has been slowed to zero, with equity and fairness for all citizens on this planet, and where our environments are safeguarded and restored. … When I think of all those things, I become ready to do battle with the problems. I say to myself, I live at a time when entire segments of the planetary ecosystem are facing terminal threat, we might lose all tropical forests within our lifetimes, the deserts might double and we could lose millions of species. This is a problem or a challenge that has never existed before, and I live at a time when we can still turn those appalling problems into magnificent opportunities. We can still save the planet. We still have time. The forests are half-gone, but the glass is still half full. This is a chance that no other generation has ever had and a problem that no other generation in the future will be able to face up to. Aren't we members of a privileged generation to be living right in the 1990s, to face up to a challenge of this size? And if we measure up to this challenge, and measure up to it worthily, won't we all feel ten feet tall? This is a marvelous time to be alive."
Norman Myers, in Population and the Environment, 1994
"With a few notable exceptions (e.g. Ehrlichs, Hardin, Pimentel, Fearnside, Odum), most professional ecologists have paid little attention, at least as evidenced by their scholarly publications, to the limits to growth of the human population or to the concept of human carrying capacity… The Sustainable Biosphere Initiative, which sets a research agenda for ecology for the next decade, says very little about the role of ecologists in the study of human populations… The phenomena of human population growth and its impacts are all too apparent; is the ecological community willing to ignore the most pressing social and scientific issue of all time?… [W]e feel the SBI is remiss in not explicitly calling for ecologists to study human population growth and the question of human carrying capacity. Accordingly, we call on the ESA [Ecological Society of America] to reconvene the Research Agenda Committee that originally drafted the SBI report and to charge the committee to develop research recommendations aimed at improving our understanding of the ecological factors determining human carrying capacity and influencing human population growth and distribution." [No action was taken on this proposal].
H. Ronald Pulliam & Nick M. Haddad, in Human Population Growth and the Carrying Capacity Concept, 1994
"It is the first component of the Holdren equation that should be the focus of policy: population. If population is stabilized, policies directed toward unit impact can slowly and modestly improve environmental conditions with the threat of neutralization by a rising tide of units. Economic growth in impoverished nations can be promoted without fear of harming the environment. Indeed, as conditions improve in these countries, experience shows that fertility rates decline. Nor will it be necessary to ask American and Europeans to reduce their standard of living; to reduce the economic incentives for technological innovation would greatly inhibit the technological progress necessary to buy time in order to avoid Malthusian consequences while population is being stabilized. What is suggested is a fundamental reordering of priorities. Existing policy in the United States directs 2% of the GNP toward essentially vain efforts to reduce unit impact. The bulk of those resources must be shifted toward stabilizing population… Private environmental groups must recognize their common cause with population groups, and unite to forge policies that recognize the critical link between population and the environment. Their task, even when they are united, will be daunting. There is resistance worldwide to family planning… Environmental groups in particular must recognize the futility of promoting Nimbyism or circle-game policies, and direct their resources and energies to stabilizing population as the most effective long-term environmental policy."
Robert M. Hardaway, in Population, Law and the Environment, 1994
"RESOLUTION ON WORLD POPULATION. The Public Affairs Committee submitted a draft resolution on the need for limiting the size of the human population. The resolution would be sent to the upcoming Cairo conference on world population, and would be distributed to the members of the Congress and the media. The following resolution, extensively revised by the Executive Committee, was unanimously approved: "The human population of the Earth, currently at 5.6 billion, is increasing rapidly. Attempting to provide an ever-increasing number of people with a reasonable standard of living is certain to fail and to result in degradation of the Earth's renewable and non-renewable resources. Thus, improving the equality of human life while maintaining and improving environmental quality requires that major efforts be made to slow and eventually stop the growth of the human population and to achieve a sustainable balance between human demands and the capability of the environment to support these demands."
Ecological Society of America, in Bulletin of the ESA, December 1994
"Within the next half-century, it will be essential for the human species to have fully operational a flexibly designed, broadly equitable and internationally coordinated set of initiatives focused on reducing the then-current world population by at least 80%. Given that even with the best of intentions it will take considerable time and exceptional diplomatic skill to develop and implement such an undertaking, perhaps on the order of 25 to 50 years, it is important that the process of consensus building – local, national and global – begin now."
J. Kenneth Smail, in Confronting the 21st Century's Hidden Crisis: Reducing Human Numbers by 80%, 1995
"Given recent budgetary problems, it may be difficult to convince Californians that the drain on public services is not the principal issue in determining how much immigration we can afford. In the long run, however, the impact on population growth will be the most lasting legacy of our current immigration policies. Largely as a result of immigration, the United States now has the fastest-growing population in the developed world, while immigration-driven population growth in California rivals that of some Third World countries. Population growth comes at a great cost that cannot always be measured in dollars and cents. First we must realize that the human race is a part of the natural ecosystem of the Earth, not a privileged super-species than can transcend the laws of nature… A commitment to our own future does not mean ignoring the problems of the rest of the world. Many developing countries are caught in a population explosion, and the United States should make family-planning assistance the first priority in foreign aid… Our [own] national policy goal should be to avoid adding to the annual load of pollution and environmental damage, and then to reduce it. That can happen only if we lower our fertility rate and our immigration level."
Lindsey Grant & Leon F. Bouvier, in The Issue is Overpopulation, 1995
"Deportation is crucial. Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave. The top priorities for detention and removal, of course, are criminal aliens. But for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process."
Rep. Barbara Jordan, Chair, U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives, 1995
"Enforcement of Immigration Limits: An effectively regulated immigration policy establishes limits on the number of immigrants that are consistent with the goals of the various categories under which immigrants enter. Moreover, these limits must be enforceable and enforced. We underscore our commitment to curtailing illegal immigration as embodied in our 1994 recommendations. …
"Enforcement of Sponsor Responsibility: A properly regulated immigration policy will hold sponsors accountable for keeping immigrants from becoming burdens on the American taxpayer and enforce that accountability through legally binding obligations. …
"Protection of U.S. Workers. A properly regulated system will also provide protection to American workers against unfair competition arising from immigrant categories that are designed to enhance U.S. economic strength. A higher level of job protection should be made available to the most vulnerable in our society.
The Commission supports a tripartite immigration policy that permits the entry of nuclear family members, professional and skilled workers, and refugees and other humanitarian admissions. In addition, the Commission urges Congress to take steps to address the continued aftereffects of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act [IRCA] that provided legal status to formerly illegal aliens.
"The Commission proposes a core immigration admissions level of 550,000 per year, to be divided as follows: Nuclear family immigration 400,000; Skill-based immigration 100,000; Refugee resettlement 50,000.
"The Commission further recommends that Congress authorize 150,000 visas annually for the admission of the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents who have been awaiting entry until such time as this backlog is eliminated. The Commission recommends that admission levels be authorized by Congress for a specified time period (e.g., three to five years) in order to ensure regular periodic review and, if needed, change by Congress. These recommendations represent fundamental reform of U.S. immigration policy."
Rep. Barbara Jordan, chairman, in Legal Immigration: Setting Priorities. Report from the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, 1995
"[A fable:] One needn't worry about population growth in the United States because it's still nowhere near as densely populated as the Netherlands. (Malcolm Forbes, 1989). The idea that the number of people per square mile is a key determinant of population pressure is as widespread and persistent as it is wrong – Paul and physicist John Holdren…long ago named it the 'Netherlands fallacy.' … The fascination with how many people can be crowded into how much land is common to many brownlash writings. In Eco-Scam, Ronald Bailey repeats the tired Netherlands fallacy and quotes [Nicholas] Eberstadt to the effect that "There is absolutely no content to the notion of overpopulation." In Apocalypse Not, Ben Bolch and Harold Lyons point out correctly that if the 1990 world population were placed in Texas, less than half of 1 percent of Earth's land surface, "each person would have an area equal to the floor space of a typical U.S. home." They also say: "Anyone who has looked out an airplane window while traveling across the country knows how empty the United States really is."
"Our response is perfectly straightforward. First, the key issue in judging overpopulation is not how many people can fit in any given space but whether the population's requirements for food, water, other resources, and ecosystem services can be met on a sustainable basis. Most of the "empty" land in the United States either grows the food essential to the well-being of Americans and much of the world (as in Iowa) or supplies us with forestry products (northern Maine), or, lacking water, good soil, and a suitable climate (as in much of Nevada), it is land that cannot directly contribute much to the support of civilization. The key point here is that the Netherlands…(and Singapore, Hong Kong, São Paulo, Mexico City, Tokyo, London, and New York) can be crowded with people only because the rest of the world is not. The Netherlands, for example, imports large amounts of food and extracts from other parts of the world much of the energy and virtually all the materials it requires. It uses an estimated seventeen times more land for food and energy than exists within its borders."
Paul R. Ehrlich & Anne H. Ehrlich, in Betrayal of Science and Reason: How Anti-Environmental Rhetoric Threatens Our Future, 1996
"The greatest danger to humanity is, without doubt, the tremendous increase in human population together with depletion of resources to fulfill human needs and desires. President Nixon was aware of this more than 25 years ago when he appointed the Commission on Population growth and the American Future, and again in 1974 when he directed a study of the implications of worldwide population growth on U.S. security. Dr. Mumford makes a telling argument as to the reasons these two reports were never implemented."
Edgar Wayburn, in a commentary on Stephen Mumford's The Life and Death of NSSM 200, 1996
"The current discussion on "biodiversity" would be more fruitful if it were framed in terms of the ever-increasing takeover of total living space by one species, rather than in terms of the number of different species that can remain viable in the ever-shrinking total habitat left over for them as the human niche expands."
Herman E. Daly, in Beyond Growth, 1996
"[H]uman impact on the environment is a function of both population and consumption patterns. It is possible for more people to have a smaller impact but only if -- through changes in lifestyle or technological progress -- each person uses fewer resources and produces less waste. Even if technological progress reduces the rate at which the United States uses resources and generates waste on a per capita basis, population growth will make the objective of sustainable development more difficult. …
"There is nothing inherently wrong with a population -- even a large one -- meeting its material needs by consuming resources and creating wastes. Problems arise when the numbers of people and the scale, composition, and pattern of their consumption and waste generation combine to have negative effects on the environment, the economy, and society. …
"Managing population growth, resources, and wastes is essential to ensuring that the total impact of these factors is within the bounds of sustainability. Stabilizing the population without changing consumption and waste production patterns would not be enough, but it would make an immensely challenging task more manageable. In the United States, each is necessary; neither alone is sufficient. …
"Sustainable development explicitly recognizes the obligation of the current generation to future generations. Taking this obligation seriously means examining the difficult issues and hearing divergent views to make informed decisions about what best serves the interests of America. As recognized at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, all nations have responsibility for managing population growth. The United States must provide leadership by setting an example. …
"Finally, while the Council encourages realization of its goals and recommendations throughout America, it wants to make clear that it seeks to move toward voluntary population stabilization at the national level, recognizing that the population of any state or region will ebb and flow according to the choices of individuals and families about where to live and work. …"
Ray Anderson & Jonathan Lash, Co-chairmen, in Sustainable America: A New Consensus for the Prosperity, Opportunity and a Healthy Environment for the Future. Report of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, 1996
"If there were one message I could imprint on the American mind, it would be this: Perpetual physical growth is impossible on a finite planet…. the question inescapably becomes not should human growth stop, but when? How should it stop? By conscious efforts to limit fertility, or by rising mortality?…The distinguishing characteristic of this century is that growth has reached the point at which this choice has become an immediate issue."
Lindsey Grant, in Juggernaut: Growth on a Finite Planet, 1996
"Recent surveys show that Americans are less concerned about population than they were 25 years ago, and they are not connecting environmental degradation to population growth. News coverage is a significant variable affecting public opinion, and how reporters frame a problem frequently signals what is causing the problem. Using a random sample of 150 stories about urban sprawl, endangered species and water shortages, Part I of this study shows that only about one story in 10 framed population growth as a source of the problem. Further, only one story in the entire sample mentioned population stability among the realm of possible solutions. Part II presents the results of interviews with 25 journalists whose stories on local environmental problems omitted the causal role of population growth. It shows that journalists are aware of the controversial nature of the population issue, and prefer to avoid it if possible. Most interviewees said that a national phenomenon like population growth was beyond the scope of what they could write as local reporters."
T. Michael Maher, in How and Why Journalists Avoid the Population-Environment Connection, 1997
"But there had to be something other than journalistic disinterest that accounts for the dramatic change in American interest in the population issue during the past 25 years. I suggest it was two things: the Green Revolution and Roe vs. Wade, both arriving on the American scene almost exactly at the beginning of the 25-year period. In 1970, the Nobel Peace Prize committee, in conferring the award on Norman Borlaug as the Father of the Green Revolution said the revolution
1) "made it possible to abolish hunger . . . in a few years"
2) "contributed to a solution . . . of the population explosion"
3) "in short we do not any longer have to be pessimistic about the economic future of the developing countries" (Weinraub, 1970).
Not one scientist attempted to correct the stupidity of those statements. Interestingly the announcement was probably programed specifically to deflate interest in the population issue. … The second major event 25 years ago was the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision on abortion, followed two years later by the National Council of Catholic Bishop's Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities (1975) which was designed to develop support among the Protestant groups (e.g., the birth of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority). Can anyone remember pro-life activity prior to 1975? As the abortion debate took on a life of its own, the population issue, dying because of the Green Revolution publicity, faded from the press. Thus, while Maher has successfully demonstrated the role of the journalist in keeping the population issue buried, its role must also be shared by the agricultural scientists who have failed to speak out as well as those who have used the right-to-life issue to obscure the bigger population picture."
William C. Paddock, in Addendum on Journalists' Noncoverage of Population, 1998
"In many environmental and population circles, the traditional thinking dictates that the problem in developing countries is overpopulation, while in the developed world the bulk of the problem is overconsumption. This oversimplification, that the U.S. has mainly a consumption problem, purveys easy, feel-good answers to many environmentally conscious individuals and organizations. Such feel-good answers are dangerous because they lead to incomplete actions by masking the enduring effects of population growth… [M]ost third world consumption levels are between 0.5 and 5 percent of ours. This vast difference is not because these people recycle, use little plastic or don't drive a turbo-charged car – it is because they have no car, no central heat, no refrigerator, and maybe no house at all! It is this lack of the most basic items, items which most of us believe every human should be able to have, which make up most of the consumption difference between the haves and the have nots…Reasonable levels of consumption are not morally wrong, in fact most of us believe that they are desirable. We need to allow all of the world's citizens a reasonable lifestyle while at the same time heading toward sustainability."
Michael G. Hanauer, in Overpopulation and Overconsumption: Where Should We Focus?, 1998
"[W]hy would major environmental organizations, who work for population stabilization all over the world, refuse to embrace this agenda at home? It is because in the last several years the leaders of organizations like the Sierra Club have been subjected to the fuming hyperbole of pro-immigration's professional activists. They have been subjected to cant of the kind that makes politically correct folks quiver, then crumble, and finally acquiesce in the taking of unprincipled positions. The United States will have half a billion people by the middle of the next century and nothing could be worse for the environment than to have our own country and other economically vigorous, but high consumption, Western nations become even more populated. One ominous consequence, should we not be able to stop this growth, is the continued decrease of farmland acreage in high-immigration nations like the United States, Canada and Australia — countries which are the only remaining net exporters of food. Poor people who can't feed their own children are less likely to agonize about saving the forests and protecting the butterflies."
Diana Hull, in Cry, the Overcrowded Country: a Post-Earth Day Requiem, 1999
"How many people can the Earth support if we want to cease degrading the environment and move to a sustainable solar energy system?…The best estimate is that Earth can support about 1 to 2 billion people with an American standard of living, good health, nutrition, prosperity, personal dignity and freedom. This estimate suggests an optimal U.S. population of 100 to 200 million. To achieve this goal, humans must first stabilize their population and then gradually reduce their numbers to achieve a sustainable society in terms of both economics and environmental resources."
David Pimentel, in How Many Americans Can the Earth Support, 1999
"North Americans who recognize the connection between growth in human numbers and biosphere damage often think that reduction of environmental degradation depends on curbing population growth on other continents. Yet the rapidly increasing populations of Canada and the United States constitute a serious hazard to the global environment. The per-capita consumption of natural resources by individual North Americans, who draw on land and energy resources from the rest of the world, is several times that of individuals in poorer countries (Wackernagel & Rees 1997). To halt ecosystem simplification worldwide, population growth in North America has to be stopped. It is unreasonable to expect other parts of the world to arrest population growth when policies of federal governments in North America accept (United States) or specifically encourage (Canada) exponential growth in human numbers."
Peter Salonius, in Population Growth in the United States and Canada: A Role for Scientists, 1999
"Continued population growth in the United States, particularly on the scale envisioned by the [U.S. Census Bureau's] medium and high projections, has enormous implications. Coupled with the technologies and resource consumption patterns that underlie the U.S. standard of living, population growth in America produces an environmental impact unparalleled by any other country at this time. Continued population growth also has the potential to overwhelm efficiency and productivity gains, negating technology-based efforts to reduce U.S. environmental impact. Population growth also challenges industry's best efforts to provide new, higher quality jobs for all Americans and to improve real wages for American workers – which have been stagnant for 22 years. It similarly adds to the nation's needs to reduce poverty, improve education, and provide health care for all Americans… [Our first recommendation is] Stabilize U.S. population as early as possible in the next century…"
Ray C. Anderson & Jonathan Lash, Co-Chairs, & 24 Council Members in Towards a Sustainable America: Advancing Prosperity, Opportunity, and a Healthy Environment for the 21st Century (Final Report of the President's Council on Sustainable Development), 1999
"The years surrounding 1970 marked the coming of age of the modern environmental movement. As that movement enters its fourth decade, perhaps the most striking change is the virtual abandonment by national environmental groups of U.S. population stabilization as an actively pursued goal. How did the American environmental movement change so radically? Answering that question will be a challenging assignment for historians. The authors are not historians. We have spent most of our lives as a journalist and an environmental scientist, respectively. But to the historians who eventually take up the task, we have many suggestions of where to look… Around 1970, U.S. population and environmental issues were widely and publicly linked. In environmental "teach-ins" across America, college students of the time heard repetitious proclamations on the necessity of stopping U.S. population growth in order to reach environmental goals… Organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970 note that U.S. population growth was a central theme… Environmental advocates envisioned making the transition to U.S. stabilization within a generation – by the time the college activists of that period had children of their own in college… The retreat from stabilization advocacy by environmental groups in the 1990s directly contradicted the conclusion of the President's Council on Sustainable Development in 1996. Established by President Clinton to follow through on the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro (the "Earth Summit"), the council acknowledged the integral relationship between a stable population and sustainable development, observing that "clearly, human impact on the environment is a function of both population and consumption patterns" and declaring the need to "move toward stabilization of the U.S. population… Historians need to explain how an environmental issue as fundamental as U.S. population growth could have moved from center-stage within the American environemental movement to virtual obscurity in just twenty years."
Roy Beck & Leon Kolankiewicz, in The Environmental Movement's Retreat from Advocating U.S. Population Stabilization (1970-1998): A First Draft of History, 2000
"Every workday in her cluttered office 10 stories above Koreatown, Danielle Elliott looks squarely into the eyes of the beast most of us are loath to acknowledge. … We avert our eyes. The monster is hard to look at because it is us--the 3.8 million of us who throng Los Angeles, the 35 million of us who populate California, the 52 million of us who will be trying to live in this state 25 years from now. … Elliott is executive director of Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), which, alone among environmental organizations, focuses on the state's fundamental dilemma, the sheer number of us living here. … From U.S. Census Bureau and state population statistics, CAPS estimates that immigration and births to immigrant women accounted for 80% of the state's population increase of almost 5 million during the past decade. … CAPS proposes limiting the number of immigrants to that of emigrants. It would restrict immigrant family reunification to spouses and minor children and eliminate automatic citizenship for children born here to undocumented residents. It calls for a national employment-eligibility verification system, higher penalties for employers of unpapered aliens and stepped-up INS enforcement. … 'We're not concerned about who is coming here, but simply the number,' says CAPS activist Ric Oberlink. 'It is not a matter of condemning those people who have come here, but of looking at resources and asking how many people this land can support with what kind of lifestyle.' "
James Ricci, in Tuning In to the Cacophony of California's Population Crunch, 2000
''The world is burning and all I hear from them [The Sierra Club] is the music of violins. … Overpopulation is perhaps the biggest problem facing us, and immigration is part of the problem. It has to be addressed.''
David Brower, quoted in The San Francisco Chronicle, May 20, 2000
"How will Los Angeles, California, and the nation look with three times more people? Our representatives and our senators appear content to let Mother Nature impose limits at far higher costs than an explicit population social policy would impose. Those grown to adulthood since the first Earth Day have been taught that it is "undemocratic" or, worse, "racist," to link immigration to population growth. They cannot hear that identifying causality is not assigning "blame." They have falsely learned we have always had high levels of immigration-which even if true wouldn't make a present-day environmental case for its continuation. Young environmentalists have also been instructed that all environmental ills are due to high individual consumption. True, individual consumption patterns magnify or diminish the effects of a given population base -- but sheer numbers take up space, form households, bear children, and go to beaches and national parks.
"The young should be taught that the only way to free up resources for the third-world nations is for the world's largest consumer and polluter to stop population growth AND reduce individual consumption. Countries that fuel our population growth are acting against everyone's long-term interests. But so is a U.S. that doesn't help fund overseas social development and family planning programs. Politicians might note that 80 percent of those surveyed by Rand, including 70 percent of self-identified "conservatives" supported U.S. funding of family planning programs overseas. Global population stabilization requires that each country get its own demographic house in order. In 1970 we might have become a role model. Instead, we are now holding up the rear."
Meredith Burke, in People Are The Problem, 2000
"We have to address the population issue. The United Nations, with the U.S. supporting it, took the position in Cairo in 1994 that every country was responsible for stabilizing its own population. It can be done. But in this country, it's phony to say 'I'm for the environment but not for limiting immigration.' "
Earth Day Founder Sen. Gaylord Nelson, in interview with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2001
"In Germany…the state authority cannot override decisions made at the local level. … The protection of local autonomy is only one way in which the citizens of the city of Freiburg show their expertise in conducting democracy. … Local, democratic power is the most fundamental and necessary requirement of sustainability. … Otto-Zimmerman says, 'Globalists don't mind where they live, where they buy things, where those things come from. Borders, to them just cause confusion, trouble, inefficiency. They are mentally torn down. But people who care about a certain place, they have real relations with it and with each other. And what we're learning now is that we really can have the best of both; internationalist populations that can see beyond local borders, and really care about what happens in other countries, but that also take care of their own homes, their Heim.' "
David Suzuki & Holly Dressel, in Good News for a Change: Hope for a Troubled Planet, 2002
"While it has long been suspected that public and elite opinion differ on the issue of immigration, a new poll provides the most compelling evidence yet that there is an enormous gap between the American people and "opinion leaders" on the issue. … This [report] is based on the findings of a recent national poll conducted by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations in May through July of this year. … The polling of the public was based on 2,800 telephone interviews from across the nation. The council also surveyed nearly 400 opinion leaders, including members of Congress, the administration, and leaders of church groups, business executives, union leaders, journalists, academics, and leaders of major interest groups. … The results of the survey indicate that the gap between the opinions of the American people on immigration and those of their leaders is enormous.
- The poll found that 60 percent of the public regards the present level of immigration to be a "critical threat to the vital interests of the United States," compared to only 14 percent of the nation's leadership – a 46 percentage point gap.
- The poll results indicate that there is no other foreign policy-related issue on which the American people and their leaders disagreed more profoundly than immigration. Even on such divisive issues as globalization or strengthening the United Nations, the public and the elite are much closer together than they are on immigration.
- When asked a specific question about whether legal immigration should be reduced, kept the same, or increased, 55 percent of the public said it should be reduced, and 27 percent said it should remain the same. In contrast, only 18 percent of opinion leaders said it should be reduced and 60 percent said it should remain the same. There was no other issue-specific question on which the public and elites differed more widely.
- The enormous difference between elite and public opinion can also be seen on the issue of illegal immigration. The survey found that 70 percent of the public said that reducing illegal immigration should be a "very important" foreign-policy goal of the United States, compared to only 22 percent of elites."
Roy Beck & Steven A. Camarota, in Elite vs. Public Opinion: An Examination of Divergent Views on Immigration, 2002
"We need to find a civil way to talk about immigration to the United States, its effects on the environment, and its relationship to other serious demographic issues facing the country and the world. This invited commentary is intended to further that conversation, in the wake of the recent infighting at the Sierra Club over immigration policy, which has been extensively covered by the United States media. … American women on average want to have about two children, and they do, even if they get there by a circuitous and uncomfortable route… As a practical matter, this leaves immigration as the only major policy lever for changing the rate of United States population growth. That is why the Sierra Cub fight, and the way some of its key combatants chose to frame the issue as an ethnic or racial one, is particularly unfortunate. Playing the race card virtually ensures the end to intelligent debate on immigration (or any other) policy. Without the capacity to discuss American immigration trends and policy safely, it is essentially impossible to discuss American population growth. This is a tragic impasse. Whether you take a national or global perspective, U.S. population policy is a debate we cannot afford to avoid indefinitely, as demographers, environmental scientists, conservationists, or policy-makers. …
"In 1998, some Sierra members placed a resolution on the annual ballot to reverse that decision [to take a "neutral" stand on immigration] and have Club advocate immigration limitations. The issue split many prominent ecologists who otherwise agree on most conservation issues -- for instance, Edward 0. Wilson of Harvard endorsed the immigration limits proposal, while Paul and Anne Ehrlich (the latter was a Sierra Club board member at the time) of Stanford opposed it. After political maneuvers by the leadership which left a sour taste in the mouths of many members, the resolution was defeated, 60-40%. … A few years later, Sierra Club members who supported taking a position on immigration policy tried a different strategy. In the board elections of 2002 and 2003, they campaigned for and elected several board members who supported their position. … The Sierra Club leadership pulled out all the stops (and the race card) to defeat that effort [to develop a SC position on immigration]. The executive director and president gave many interviews, contending that the candidates (and some of the current board members) were supported by or related to racist organizations. For example, in articles in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, Sierra Club President Carl Pope was quoted using the words "xenophobia," "racists," "racism," and "Nazi" in referring to the support for three of Sierra Club board candidates. … These scorched earth tactics proved effective. … The five board-endorsed candidates won overwhelmingly… It is unwise to either avoid or stifle scientific and public debate about U.S. population policy. To accomplish that, we have to learn how to discuss immigration without descending into name-calling."
Frederick A.B. Meyerson, in Immigration, Population Policy and the Sierra Club, 2004
The American future is shaped by many complex forces. One of the most powerful – immigration – is, on balance, now taking America where it doesn't want to go – toward porous borders and uncontrolled entry, endless population growth, imported-worker competition with American labor, social fragmentation. To understand how we have moved onto a road to a more troubled future we need to turn to our history. This is so because our predicament finds us as a nation confused and misguided by our historical memories and myths, which tell us a flawed and misleading story, that immigration has always taken us where we wanted to go."
Otis L. Graham, Jr., in Unguarded Gates: A History of America's Immigration Crisis, 2004
"Global interest in the relationship between population growth on the one hand, and resource availability and environmental degradation on the other, thrives across academic disciplines and geographic locations. International and domestic environmental organizations have consistently placed population growth high on their list of issues of concern. In Israel, however, the population-environment discourse has taken on unique characteristics, relegating the topic to academic insignificance or accepting population growth as prima facie, a problem not to be directly addressed. In this article, I discuss the historical and modern discourse surrounding the environmental implications of population growth within the Israeli environmental community of academics, policy makers, and activists. I suggest that, while there are compelling reasons that population growth in Israel (and the Palestinian territories) should be a prominent topic for environmental research and discourse, it is rarely observed in public discussion, environmental campaigns, or in the academic literature. … For the foreseeable future, especially as long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unresolved, it is unlikely that population growth will receive a prominent place on the Israeli environmental agenda. … Nonetheless, it would be wise to put population-environmental dynamics high on the academic and public agenda in Israel, if only to stimulate civil discourse about the environmental implications of population growth, the potential trade-offs in quality of life, and to enable us to prepare accordingly for the environmental future. Effective environmental policies should address the driving forces of environmental change, in addition to their impacts. By not investigating complex populationenvironment interactions, we miss the opportunity for understanding the sources of environmental problems while continuing to concentrate on addressing symptoms of environmental degradation."
Daniel E. Orenstein, in Population Growth and Environmental Impact: Ideology and Academic Discourse in Israel, 2004
"Twenty years earlier I had been among the young turks pressing the older more established members for a more aggressive [Sierra] Club. Now [President Phil] Berry's vanguard was pushing our boundaries to include a meaningful expression of the next generation's concerns. In 1970 the board passed resolutions confirming the importance as a national issue of sustainable living conditions and urging that the United States work actively toward zero population growth here and abroad."(p.129) … "The program for the Fourth World Congress on National Parks, held in Caracas, Venezuela, in February 1992, addressed the place of protected areas in the world, discrepancies between the wealthy north and the poverty-stricken Southern Hemisphere, extraction of resources, the need for international environmental efforts, and the role of sustainable development. … My efforts at the this congress, I realize in retrospect, focused on pointing out what was missing from its program: the congress largely failed to address threats to endangered protected areas or the dangers of proliferating human population. Concerning the latter, I offered an "intervention" to Adrian Phillips, chair of the recommendations committee, asking that the congress advise world governments to educate their people on the dangers of rampant population growth, and noting that human numbers already exceeded the earth's carrying capacity for sustaining a quality environment. Addressing the plenary session on the Caracas Declaration, which would summarize the conference's deliberations and aims, I outlined the dangers posed by overpopulation to protected areas in particular and to human life in general. I asked that the declaration contain a statement calling on governments to institute education and stabilization measures addressing overpopulation. Such language was approved by the plenary session, but I never saw it in the final declaration." (p.295)
Edgar Wayburn, in Your Land and Mine: Evolution of a Conservationist, 2004
"For many years our Federal government has failed to stop illegal immigration, with the deplorable result that there are now an estimated 10-15 million illegal immigrants living here permanently, in violation of our laws. … Proponents of mass immigration, who welcome immigration without limits, whether legal or illegal, have attempted (fairly successfully until now) to set the terms of the debate about what to do with the many millions of illegal immigrants who have settled here. They have done so by maintaining that there are only two possible options: either mass deportation or citizenship.
"Since it is unrealistic to think that 10-15 million immigrants could somehow be apprehended and deported in mass, the proponents of mass immigration maintain that the only other option possible is to put them on a path toward citizenship. That would amount to a mass amnesty, pure and simple. Such an amnesty would create a large and immediate increase in the size of our already vastly overpopulated country by an estimated 18 to 30 million, because the amnestied illegals would be able to bring here their immediate family members currently living abroad. …
"If the flow of new illegal immigrants were halted, and the illegal population now here were pressured to depart voluntarily without government intervention, we believe that within several years at most their number would be reduced to near zero. That goal could be accomplished by putting into effect policies that would make it practically impossible for an illegal alien to reside here for any appreciable length of time without being apprehended, coupled with severe penalties for illegal presence when apprehended. We need a comprehensive federal program that would make it virtually impossible for an illegal immigrant to remain here undetected. The heart of the program would be to require government authorities or private sector officials to confirm legal status whenever anyone:
- Attempts to open a bank account, purchase bank instruments or securities, or transfer money abroad.
- Applies for a driver's or pilot's license, or any other commercial or occupational license.
- Seeks to enroll in college or post-secondary training for oneself or one's children.
- Seeks medical care at a hospital.
- Applies for a marriage license, birth certificate or other vital document. • Applies for a social security number.
- Applies for a job.
- Attempts to buy, sell or rent real estate.
- Applies for a credit card charge account or any other form of credit.
- Seeks to purchase, rent or register a vehicle, aircraft, firearm, explosives, or controlled hazardous materials..."
Donald Mann, in A False Choice: Citizenship or Mass Deportation, 2006
"Can an ecologist challenge the economic doctrine of global economic growth without limit and win? … The whole history of technological civilization has been to disengage from nature, to worship money, to covet land as a commodity, to ravage forests, to drain wetlands, and to send wastes downwind and downstream for as long as you can get away with it. … It is a dangerous fantasy to see yourself as separate from nature. It is ecological madness, pure and simple. …The three primary evils of technological civilization based on demotechnic reasoning are: money, the clock, and forms of advertising and propaganda based on deception. … People everywhere have tried to reduce the human impacts of the growth of technology and population without fundamentally changing their ways…. What made these [major environmental] tragedies particularly disgusting was that most people were unaware of what was going on in their own back yards…. Growth is still subsidized on the false belief that further growth will bring wealth and happiness to most people. In fact, the reverse is more likely to be true. Further growth will only increase the power and wealth of those who make money from the bonanza. … [M]ost large organizations that control human behavior have misconstrued, ignored or bypassed the most fundamental discoveries that have been made in biology, ecology, and evolution. … Most religions encourage war by providing spiritual support for the fighters and consolation for the bereaved. Religions that encourage belief in a personal after-life invite ecological disaster by separating people from their surroundings."
Jack Vallentyne, in Tragedy in Mouse Utopia: An Ecological Commentary on Human Utopia, 2006
"Mass immigration, whether through established or extra-legal channels, has by default become the nation's de facto population policy. Net immigration plus births to immigrants account for about 2.1 million new residents, more than 60 percent of America's population growth of over 3 million each year. While Washington debates the immigrants' skills, status and provenance, their environmental impact is the same: they and their children become part of the population base that intensifies the nation's depletion of resources and environmental stress."
David Simcox, in Toward Negative Population Growth: Cutting Legal Immigration by Four-Fifths, 2006
"In October 2006, the U.S. population surpassed 300 million. In times past, reaching such a demographic milestone might have been a cause for celebration. In the twenty-first century, it is not. Population growth is the ever expanding denominator that gives each person a shrinking share of the resource pie. It contributes to water shortages, cropland conversion to non-farm uses, traffic congestion, more garbage, overfishing, crowding in national parks, a growing dependence on imported oil, and other conditions that diminish the quality of our daily lives… Given the negative effects of continuing population growth on our daily lives, it may be time to establish a national population policy, one that would lead toward population stabilization sooner rather than later. As noted earlier, almost all other industrial countries now have stable or declining populations. Perhaps it's time for us to stabilize the U.S. population as well, so that we never have to ask whether 400 million Americans is a cause for celebration."
Lester R. Brown, in U.S. Population Past 300 Million, Heading For 400 Million: No Cause For Celebration, 2006
"There are many population growth addicts, some hardly aware they have become addicted. Others are so badly addicted they have entered what psychologists would call a state of tolerance. That is, they have reached a state where increasingly larger doses (of population growth) are necessary to produce desired effects. Let's consider some of America's population growth addicts and the state of their addictions… Builders and developers… Farmers… Food processors… Hospitality industry employers… Information technology (IT) employers… Media owners and executives… Middle-class Americans… [N]ot all of America's population growth addicts are bad people. Many – perhaps most – are simply people who haven't thought about what their addiction is doing to American's future – in many cases, the futures of their own children, grandchildren, and further descendants… Perhaps thoughts cross their minds occasionally about wages and working conditions, about the underground economy, about subsidized health care permitting them to pay lower wage rates, and about deteriorating schools whose problems are multiplied by multitudes of students who speak little English. But they probably do not think about the total range of problems created by increasing population."
Edward C. Hartman, in The Population Fix: Breaking America's Addiction to Population Growth, 2006
"Restrictive immigration policy based on environmental degradation is ethically justified. It is not the alleged or real environmental damage to host countries that is at issue, but the activities undertaken in the name of globalization, specifically the mobility of labor that requires ethical explanation: and as we have seen many of those actions are directly responsible for the disintegration of places, which is a clear violation of the right to a healthful environment. Those who would restrict immigration solely on the worry that local environments will be over-stressed …should consider the broader concerns and put into practice the procedural imperative of the late Rene Dubos to "Think Globally, Act Locally," thereby honoring the basic rights of immigrants by helping to dismantle the global network of exploitation, one of the great moral obscenities of our time."
Robert L. Chapman, in Confessions of a Malthusian Restrictionist, 2006
"Knowing that the importation of foreign labor is unpopular with the public, Congress has often enacted legislation of this nature for the tech industry in "stealth" mode. This year seems to be no exception, with radical changes to laws on high-tech work visas being hidden in a 300-page Senate bill that is supposed to be about illegal immigration… The bill would create a new F-4 visa category that would lead to an essentially automatic green card for any foreign student who earns a graduate degree in engineering or the physical sciences at a U.S. university… The "free green card" proposals are aimed at giving foreign students incentives to come to the United States for graduate study and to stay here after completing their studies… [T]hese proposals arise in response to the longtime claim by Intel and other large technology companies that an insufficient number of U.S. students pursue graduate studies in tech fields… The "free green card" proposals also comprise a response to the academic lobby, as U.S. universities have seen their foreign applicant pools for graduate programs shrink in recent years… This is causing academics to panic, since their lucrative federal research funding depends on having the "bodies" to work in the labs… It is crucial to understand that F-4 and other recent proposals to give "free" green cards to foreign Master's and PhD graduates at U.S. universities stem from a long-held plan of an agency of the federal government, the National Science Foundation (NSF). Incredibly, the NSF has explicitly advocated bringing in large numbers of foreign students in order to undercut American PhD salary levels. This was set forth in a 1989 policy paper by Peter House, Director of the Policy and Research Analysis Division of the NSF… [O]utstanding Individuals should be welcomed to the United States, but existing programs are quite sufficient to handle this group… Instead of making it easier for foreign tech graduates to be hired in U.S. industry, Congress should make it more difficult… Congress should reduce, rather than expand, the total yearly number of employment-based green cards. Congress should also warn the NSF that further undermining of American engineers and scientists may jeopardize the NSF's funding."
Norman Matloff, in Best? Brightest? A Green Card Giveaway for Foreign Grads Would Be Unwarranted, 2006
"The Senate passed legislation last week that Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) hailed as "the most far-reaching immigration reform in our history." You might think that the first question anyone would ask is how much it would actually increase or decrease legal immigration. But no. After the Senate approved the bill by 62 to 36, you could not find the answer in the news columns of the Post, the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Yet the estimates do exist and are fairly startling. By rough projections, the Senate bill would double the legal immigration that would occur during the next two decades from about 20 million (under present law) to about 40 million.
"One job of journalism is to inform the public about what our political leaders are doing. In this case, we failed. The Senate bill's sponsors didn't publicize its full impact on legal immigration, and we didn't fill the void. It's safe to say that few Americans know what the bill would do because no one has told them. Indeed, I suspect that many senators who voted for the legislation don't have a clue as to the potential overall increase in immigration.
"Democracy doesn't work well without good information. Here is a classic case. It is interesting to contrast these immigration projections with a recent survey done by the Pew Research Center. The poll asked whether the present level of legal immigration should be changed. The response: 40 percent favored a decrease, 37 percent would hold it steady and 17 percent wanted an increase. There seems to be scant support for a doubling. If the large immigration projections had been in the news, would the Senate have done what it did? Possibly, though I doubt it."
Robert J. Samuelson, in What You Don't Know About the Immigration Bill, 2006
"For many years now, our nation has debated the merits of race preferences ("affirmative action"). This debate has been conducted in our legislatures, our courts, our schools, our communities and at the ballot box. Now, our nation is engaged in a debate about immigration. This debate is wide ranging and many people honorably and strenuously disagree over what course America should take. However, immigration and race preferences cannot be considered in isolation. Under existing laws and policies, the majority of immigrants coming to America will automatically be eligible for race preferences and privileges not provided to the great majority of Americans. This is unfair!
"As voters in California, Washington and Michigan made clear in their overwhelming support of ballot measures banning government mandated racial preferences … the American people strongly oppose the idea that our government should treat us differently based on race, ethnicity, sex or national origin. They understand that while preferences were aimed at giving a helping hand to those who had historically suffered discrimination, in practice they have served above all to compound injustice, needlessly breeding resentment by systematically privileging some Americans over others. … It is essential that any new immigration legislation not perpetuate – indeed not exacerbate – these injustices. Any new legislation should include carefully drafted provisions to ensure that the new immigrants and their children not be afforded any special privileges that put existing Americans, including minority Americans who have suffered actual discrimination in the past, at a disadvantage."
Ward Connerly & 24 cosigners, in Immigration Reform Must Address Racial Preferences, June 8, 2007
"Al Gore's Academy Award winning slide show demonstrating the current and ongoing threat to the Earth's ecosystem from global warming argues the case that manmade pollution is the cause of impending global disaster. Gore presents his alarming data as an "inconvenient truth". And, if indeed, as the majority of scientists agree, global warming is the cataclysmic consequence of human consumptive activity, why does Gore's documentary devote so little attention to the most obvious and prominent truth of all, that the prolific growth in human population is the ultimate root cause of all the ecological horrors he exposes and predicts. "As with so many Cassandras of ecological doom, Gore hardly mentions human population growth, even though it is the fundamental factor in the equation of ecological disaster. Rather, he prescribes the usual remedies of individual life style sacrifices like driving less, using less energy and water—living smaller. While this prescription is a prudent and responsible one for humans to swallow, it will not provide the ultimate global cure if human population growth is not reversed.
"When it comes to human population, most of the ecological community along with most governments continue to pursue policies of accommodation rather than remediation. There are dozens of organizations dedicated to savings animals, or forests, or rivers, or oceans, or birds, bats, and barn-owls, but only a handful that attack the root cause of the threat to all of these pet preservations—human population. Government planners, meanwhile, strategize as to how they can force more people onto mass transit, or build freeways on top of freeways, squeeze more housing onto less land, and convert seawater into drinking water."
Randy Alcorn, in The Real Inconvenient Truth, 2007
"The American people would like to trust their government to do what it promises, but there is no evidence that it could, even if it were desirable, which it is not, to implement a Z Visa program [for] more than 12 million people. Moreover, getting what you got is what happens when you do what you did. This bill [S.1348] is 1986 redux -- all of the talk and none of the action. McCain-Kennedy is a handwritten invitation to millions more people to come to America illegally. … So how do we solve immigration? Just how we got here, one bite at a time.
"The first bite starts with controlling of and protecting our borders. The government's first responsibility is to protect its people. We have the capability to protect the border, what we are lacking is the political will to do so. As a matter of national survival it must be done. We already know that if millions of people are crossing the border illegally that among them are gang members, violent criminals and drug dealers, but you can be certain that there are also, as ABC News reported earlier this week, those who intend to inflict massive destruction upon the American people. So what we should do with the millions who are here now? Deport them? The answer is to do nothing. Let me explain.
"Protecting the border has a very desirable secondary effect in addition to the national security aspect. It sends a clear message to the immigrant populations who lack legal status that the American immigration system may no longer be a joke. That something has changed and the government is demonstrating that it may be serious about law and order and protecting the border. Amnesty, on the other hand, sends a clear message that we think our own law is merely a set of suggestions that need not be followed. … After the border is protected -- and that may take some time -- the next step is to implement a verification system equivalent in accuracy, speed and security [to that of] a credit or debit card. This system would use biometrics to ensure the person being hired is who they say they are and the employer can know with confidence that all of their employees have verifiable legal status. … Why is this so important to us? It is because the survival of our great nation of immigrants depends upon respect for the rule of law. Most immigrants do understand this because most come from countries where the rule of law is arbitrary and is not meted out justly. Americans instinctively know this and that is what the fight on talk radio has been all about."
Rick Tyler (Press Secretary to Newt Gingrich), in Mis-Immigration, 2007
"TIP NO. 6: Note to them [Congressional offices] that Ted Kennedy has already pushed SEVEN amnesties into law. None was followed by a reduction in illegal immigration. Why should anybody believe this one will be? "
- In 1986, Ted Kennedy's blanket amnesty for 2.7 million illegal aliens promised a lot more enforcement but did not set any requirments for actual reductions in illegal immigration. The illegal flow continued.
- In 1994, Ted Kennedy's Section 245(i) Amnesty gave legal residence and jobs to 578,000 illegal aliens. It was a temporary rolling amnesty primarily for extended family members of immigrants who instead of waiting in line, come on to the country illegally. The illegal flow continued.
- In 1997, Ted Kennedy's extension of the Section 245(i) rolling amnesty was followed by an increasing flow of illegal immigration.
- In 1997, Ted Kennedy also won an amnesty for close to one million illegal aliens from Central America. Illegal immigration sped up some more.
- In 1998, Ted Kennedy won an amnesty for 125,000 illegal aliens from Haiti. The illegal flow continued.
- In 2000, Ted Kennedy got the so-called Late Amnesty, legalizing another 400,000 illegal aliens who claimed that they missed out on Kennedy's 1986 amnesty. Illegal immigration continued unimpeded.
- In 2000, Ted Kennedy also won the LIFE Act Amnesty for an estimated 900,000 illegal aliens. It was another reinstatement of the rolling Section 245(i) amnesty, an estimated 900,000 illegal aliens. Illegal immigration accelerated.
"Now, Ted Kennedy is saying that this amnesty is necessary if we are ever to stop the flow of illegal aliens. Why would any of these Senators believe him when he says this amnesty bill will end illegal immigration with a track record like his?"
Roy Beck, Talking Points on How to Push Back Against the Cloture Deal [on Senate Bill 1348], e-mail sent in the early a.m. of June 15, 2007
"It's not the immigrants – it's us. What's different about immigration today as opposed to a century ago is not the characteristics of the newcomers but the characteristics of our society. … [T]he changes that define modern America – in our society, economy, government, and technology, for example – are so fundamental that our past success in dealing with immigration is simply no longer relevant. … The most important long-term measure of success in immigration is assimilation. The American model of immigration has been based on turning immigrants and their descendants fully into Americans. … "Our modern society is different in two major ways that relate to assimilation, one practical, the other political. The first, practical difference is that modern technology now enables newcomers to retain ties to their homelands, even to the extent of living in both countries simultaneously; thus, becoming 'deeply rooted here,' in Brandeis's words, is simply less likely to happen. This leads to what scholars call transnationalism – living in such a way as not to be rooted in one nation, but rather living across two or more nations. … Second, and perhaps more important, is the political change. Elites in all modern societies, including ours, come to devalue their own nation and culture and thus recoil from the idea that newcomers should even be required to adopt 'our language, manners and customs,' let alone 'be brought into complete harmony with our ideals and aspirations' – assuming we can even agree, in this contentious age, on what those ideals and aspirations are. This loss of confidence expresses itself in an ideology of multiculturalism, which rejects the idea of bonds tying together all members of a society."
Mark Krikorian, in The New Case Against Immigration, Both Legal and Illegal, 2007
"One of the major obstacles now to decent wages and upward social mobility for blacks at the low end of the economic stratum is the size of the illegal immigrant community, willing to toil for less and tolerate substandard working and living conditions. … The impact of illegal immigration on the black community is a topic rarely articulated. Dr. Stephen Steinlight, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washisngton D.C., recently addressed this neglected topic as part of a wide-ranging one on immigration issues… To illustrate that point, Steinlight noted that last year after a raid at a Crider Inc. facility in Stillmore, Georgia – which found that 75 percent of the Latino workers were illegal aliens – the poultry plant had to hire Americans for the jobs. These jobs were easily filled, predominantly by African-Americans. As a consequence of hiring Americans, hourly pay increased, and the company started offering free transportation to work, as well as providing a dormitory and shower facilities."
Diana Hull, in Unchecked Immigration Leaves Blacks Burdened, 2007
"Madam President, I wanted to say a few words because for me, this is a very sad day. … Having said that, when you deal with one word, which is ``comprehensive,'' which means all encompassing, you have to deal with a system that is huge. A visa system by the millions, a broken border, interior enforcement, employer sanctions, all of those things you need to do to fix a system that has existed are broken. … People never have understood the complexities of the bill. … There may be some decision made that comprehensive, all-inclusive is too much to tackle in one bill, that perhaps we should do parts of this bill [one] at a time. … I guess my observation of the evening is: Is comprehensive too much? … So it is a dark day for me and a dark evening because a lot of work went into this."
Sen. Diane Feinstein, in speech on floor of U.S. Senate following defeat of comprehensive immigration expansion bill, S.1348, June 7, 2007
"The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of non-human life requires such a decrease."
Arne Naess, in The Ecology of Wisdom, 2008
"The challenge for Canada is to stop this crazy notion that we've got to keep the economy growing by adding more people. Canadians are having less than 2 children per couple so to keep the economy climbing, we bring more and more people from low consuming countries and convert them to high consumers. This is nuts."
David Suzuki, in email to Peter Salonius, 21 October 2008
"The debate about U.S. immigration policy is a difficult and often emotional one. In recent years, a new component has been added. Shifting focus away from a debate based on the merits of various policy options, some of those advocating higher levels of immigration and amnesty for illegal aliens have resorted to attacking and impugning the motives of their opponents.
"The largest and most prominent immigration reform group to come under attack is the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The basis for the attacks against FAIR is a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that designates FAIR as a "hate group." This single report serves as the cornerstone of a relentless assault by the mass immigration and amnesty lobby against FAIR and other organizations that promote immigration reductions and enforcement of our immigration laws.
"With more than 250,000 members and activists nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. We believe that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and respect the rule of law. In its 30 years of operation, FAIR has earned a reputation for reliability and integrity in all aspects of immigration policy, and we are proud of our long history of achievement in this very emotional debate. … Even the highest levels of government recognize and rely on FAIR's work. Members of the Democratic and Republican leadership, as well as committee and subcommittee chairmen have invited members of FAIR to testify on the issue of immigration on nearly 100 occasions. The expertise of departments in our organization has been repeatedly tapped by congressional offices of both parties.
"FAIR's 30-year record speaks for itself. That record is incontrovertible: FAIR's views and advocacy on immigration matters are motivated by legitimate concerns about the impact of mass immigration on the United States and nothing else. FAIR represents mainstream views that are shared by the majority of Americans. The attacks against FAIR's reputation are politically motivated. The SPLC…has a long and well-documented history of using baseless claims to raise money. FAIR has long impeded the open borders and amnesty lobby from being able to achieve its political goals. Having repeatedly failed to convince the American public that higher levels of immigration and amnesty for illegal aliens will be beneficial to the nation, they have turned to the time-tested tactic of smearing their opponents."
Federation for American Immigration Reform, in A Guide to Understanding the Tactics of the Southern Poverty Law Center in the Immigration Debate, 2009
"Those who fail to see that population growth and climate change are two sides of the same coin are either ignorant or hiding from the truth. These two huge environmental problems are inseparable and to discuss one while ignoring the other is irrational."
James Lovelock, in his statement on becoming a patron of The Optimum Population Trust, 2009
"Population stabilisation should become a priority for sustainable development."
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Anan in his recommendations presented at the Global Humanitarian Forum, 2009
"It is the function of the Christian church to make a moral judgment about economic and social matters whenever the fundamental rights of the person demand it. However, after examining all of the evidence and listening to the voice of the American people, I believe the Christian church, both here and abroad, has made a serious misjudgment, supporting a policy that has a long list of attendant evils. The Christian church currently favors an immigration policy that assists those who violate our laws rather than enter the legal process that leads to legal immigration. The Christian church, in some quarters, actually recommends to its ministers and priests that they break the law by helping illegals who break the law. The church's position disappoints those who play by the rules, placing legal immigrants and businesses that respect our laws at a great disadvantage. … The Christian leadership of this country, not really comprehending the wide-ranging problems connected with illegal immigration, has blessed violating the sovereignty of this nation, depressing the wages of American workers, encouraging the growth of the most violent gangs in America, driving up black unemployment and draining the best and brightest of the Third World, leaving it helpless."
Father Patrick J. Bascio, in On the Immorality of Illegal Immigration, 2009
"We can't just sit around waiting for the global solution. There is a lot that can be done at a household level, at a community level, at a regional level."
Elinor Ostrom, in an interview with The Escotet Foundation, 2010
"My attention was called recently to a Department of State position paper that said simply that "The U.S. does not endorse population ‘stabilization’ or ‘control.’ The ‘ideal’ family size should be determined by the desires of couples, not governments." That is not just a major retrograde step; it is a particularly bad policy in the current and prospective state of the economy. The questions arise: how did the government get there? And what should be done about it?
"In the 1970s, our government had a fleeting vision of the dangers of continuing growth on a finite planet. That vision was lost in the welter of competing goals and voices. Now, amid high unemployment and widespread disillusionment with government, our political leaders must veer sharply, acknowledge the validity of that discontent, and offer policies on population, immigration and trade that recognize growth as part of the problem, not the solution. If they don’t, some would-be leader will move in on them."
Lindsey Grant, in The Great Silence: U.S. Population Policy, 2010
"Amnesty is no answer to the problems caused by years of mass, unchecked illegal immigration. The solution lies in developing the fortitude to enforce the laws we have passed. Any blanket or partial amnesty would be patently unfair to the many who have played by the rules of the legal immigration process and have entered legally or have been denied admission. An amnesty would be prohibitively costly and poses a threat to national security. …
"An enforced ban on hiring illegal immigrants would cause many to leave the country voluntarily – an approach known as attrition through enforcement. Mandatory usage of the successful E-Verify program and penalties for businesses who knowingly hire illegal employees would help unemployed American workers, and discourage new illegal immigration. Our nation must also tackle the other component of illegal immigration – those who enter our country legally for a specific time period, but then do not leave upon the expiration of their tourist, work or student visas. The government must develop procedures to guarantee that those who arrive with our permission depart when that authorization expires.
"Finally, we need to advocate for and fund family planning here and abroad. While the hard work of individuals and organizations has led to significantly lowered birthrates in many parts of the world, there remains a great, unmet need for family planning services. President Obama has his eye on an amnesty, but the best legacy he could leave for future generations is a sustainable America. Creating a sustainable country has multiple components, but a sound immigration and population policy is one essential piece. Encouraging those who are living and working here illegally to return to their home countries and discouraging further illegal immigration must be at the top of the agenda."
Maria Fotopoulos, in No Home for Amnesty in a Sustainable America, 2010
"The Pew Hispanic Center study found that 340,000 of the 4.3 million babies born in the U.S. in 2008 were children of illegal immigrants, and that of the 5.1 million children of undocumented immigrants, 4 million were born inside the U.S. The emerging debate is over the first clause of the 14th Amendment that says "All persons born in the United States" are citizens of the United States. Inevitably, however, the debates degenerate into personal opinions about whether it is good or bad policy to automatically award U.S. citizenship to anyone who is born in the U.S. Proponents claim that it rightfully and humanely offers the benefits and economic advantages of U.S. citizenship to the child of a parent anywhere in the world who manages to break into the U.S. and have a child.
"Opponents claim that such a policy is unfair to the teeming millions patiently seeking legal entry, and encourages law breaking and illegal immigration on a massive scale, unconscionably leading to thousands of agonizing deaths in the deserts of Arizona and California.
"But the real question is: What does the Constitution actually say about birthright citizenship? The pundits who claim such a constitutional right often conveniently ignore the second clause of the 14th Amendment which clearly modifies the first by limiting birth citizenship to those whose parents are already "subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S." … There may be excellent public policy reasons, both humane and economic, why U.S. citizenship should be either granted to, or foisted upon (as the case may be), innocent foreign nationals and tourists who visit the U.S., either legally or illegally. But the U.S. Constitution is not one of them."
Robert Hardaway, in Citizen by Birth? Check the Constitution, 2010
"Terry Anderson, who called himself the Prisoner of South Central (Los Angeles) died earlier today, and the silence is already deafening. For more than a decade, Terry had broadcast his loud and angry Sunday night radio show from Los Angeles under the motto of: "Articulating The Popular Rage"… When blue-collar Black Americans across the nation began to lose control of their neighborhoods, their occupations, their schools and their livelihoods because of immigration during the 1990s, Terry -- above all others -- refused to be silent. For more than 15 years, nobody has been a more outspoken champion of the cause of Black Americans against the unfair competition of immigration.
"Terry's anger at what immigration had done to the historic Black neighborhoods of South Central L.A. pushed him onto stages across California and eventually across America. Usually proudly wearing overalls and doing nothing to disguise his small business and auto mechanic livelihood, Terry became one of the most popular orators in the movement to protect U.S. workers from illegal immigration.
"Sadly, few of the traditional civil rights leaders -- Black or White -- have said a word in defense of Black Americans when it comes to immigration. Most of them have decided that the pain inflicted disproportionately on Black Americans is acceptable because immigration provides the leaders with other benefits. That is what made Terry's work so important and so courageous -- and so unique.
"Terry loved America, even when parts of America (including, sadly, some people who agree with the need to reduce immigration) still didn't see Black Americans as equally deserving and equally important parts of our national community. Terry always made those of us White Americans in the movement feel that he believed we cared as much about the Black victims in his Black neighborhood as we cared about White victims. And because of that, I sense that he created a lot more real and heart-felt concern throughout the movement for the disproportionate victimization of Black Americans by our nation's immigration policies.
"Those of us who continue to live can honor Terry and all the other fallen patriots of the immigration-reduction movement by refusing to allow the status quo immigration policies to exist indefinitely. … If Terry couldn't live to see the victory, let's hope that at least those of us who knew Terry and were inspired by him will live to see it -- and without having to set any longevity records!"
Roy Beck, in Terry Anderson, Radio Host Champion of Black Americans Against Unfair Immigrant Competition, July 8, 2010
"With every passing day it is increasingly clear that the allure of birthright citizenship has picked up steam during the past four decades, becoming a runaway train, a human locomotive fueled by Latin America's entrenched misery that has come barreling across the Rio Grande to demographically explode in major American population centers and—with human densities in urbanized regions reaching critical mass—fans out into the heartland.
"The policy has created a self-sustaining dynamic on a fundamental level; encouraging immigrants to cross the border illegally and then rewarding them when they have a child here by making said baby an instant-citizen and therefore accorded all the rights and privileges afforded Americans; including welfare payments. Perhaps even more potent is their right, once they turn 18, to petition for their immigrant family members to stay in the United States. Thus these babies are far more than euphemistic anchors: they are quite literally paychecks and a membership card into the network of social services offered in America. This powerful dynamic is now pervasive across the nation, resulting in chaotic scenes as American citizens demand enforcement of immigration laws while immigrants and their advocacy networks decry any effort to deport those here illegally.
"To insist that one has an fundamental human entitlement to violate the sovereign boundaries of a nation, to then take up residence and claim the right to remain there in violation of its laws and then to insist that any effort to prevent this is a 'violation of human rights' is, to the contrary, a violation of the inalienable right of a people to govern themselves through a system that is predicated on their consent. It also ferments a fundamental disrespect for the law that ultimately corrodes the rationale for enforcing virtually any other law, as it embraces the tenuous position that some laws are more valid than others and, in the case of illegal immigration, allows those breaking the law to set the terms and conditions for its enforcement. Demands for birthright citizenship by illegal immigrants are a brazenly unilateral claim that undercuts the very basis of the mutual consent that has long been the foundation of the American republic."
Mark Cromer, in American Jackpot: The Remaking of America by Birthright Citizenship, 2010
"The United States is at a critical point in its fight with (and over) illegal aliens. We are besieged by the aliens themselves and their governments who try to make the case that the U.S. owes their citizens the right to come, unimpeded, to this country. And those who violate our laws are supported, comforted, and encouraged by their co-ethnics, their sympathizers, and our very own government.
"In the spring of 2009 NAFBPO presented a series of editorials on the need for vigorous control of illegal immigration and how various U.S. administrations have failed to meet that need. Those arguments may be found on our website so we will not go over them again here except to say that the situation is critical, the national well-being and security are imperiled, and our leaders are betraying us by failing to address this problem. Instead, they call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, a code phrase for amnesty for illegal aliens. Their version of "comprehensive" reform is, at its heart, a corrupt bargain, an acceptance and blessing of illegal behavior in return for money. As currently proposed, so-called "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" will not "reform" anything; it will simply institutionalize the problem by starting it all over again.
"In this document NAFBPO has set out nine steps that we believe are required to achieve real immigration reform. Necessarily, our presentation is heavily weighted toward enforcement. That is so because without enforcement nothing else matters. Those charged with resolving this sad situation must realize, must realize, that simply reinforcing the border will solve nothing. If there is not multifaceted, aggressive interior enforcement the border will never be secure.
"In Steps 8 and 9 (Legislation, and Other Matters) we have made significant suggestions for change to legal immigration and citizenship laws and to current practices and policies. We recognize that they will certainly ignite controversy if considered by the people, Congress, and regulators. However, we do not restrict our suggestions to what is easy, but to what is necessary."
National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, in A Proposal for Comprehensive Immigration Enforcement and Reform, 2010
"In 1970, as America celebrated the first Earth Day, the population in California was under 20 million. Since then it has grown steadily and inexorably, and today it has doubled to over 39 million. The California Department of Finance projects that it will exceed 54 million by 2040… With the increase in the human population has come an inevitable decline in other species. Land used for housing, roads, businesses, schools and other forms of human activity has displaced land in its natural state. California has already lost 99 percent of its native grasslands, 80 percent of its coastal wetlands, and 94 percent of its interior wetlands.
"The state has some of the most varied wildlife habitat on earth, boasting more endemic species than any other state, but rapid population growth imperils this extraordinary biodiversity. At least 73 plants and animals are extinct in California and 134 species are threatened or endangered. The noble coastal redwood is the state tree, but logging has felled 96 percent of the original old-growth redwoods. The state animal, the California grizzly bear, appears on the state flag, but it is extinct in California.
"Population growth aggravates virtually every environmental problem in the state, and threatens to erase the gains made through conservation measures and technological advances. Carbon dioxide emissions per capita in California have fallen by 30 percent since 1975, but the state's total emissions have increased by 25 per cent as the soaring population has overwhelmed conservation efforts. California has been the number one agricultural state for more than fifty years and produces over half the nation's fruit, nuts, and vegetables, but water shortages and population pressures threaten agricultural production as development now consumes an average of about 50,000 acres of farmland per year. One of every six acres developed in California since the Gold Rush was paved over between 1990 and 2004 according to American Farmland Trust, which notes, "The underlying causes of farmland loss in California are rapid population growth and the inefficient use of land".
Ric Oberlink, in Sustainable California: The Unmentionable Problem of Population Growth, 2010
"Mass immigration is increasing America's Ecological Footprint (EF), pushing our country deeper into ecological deficit. Approaching 310 million, U.S. population currently exceeds the carrying capacity of our land and resource base. Nevertheless, high immigration levels exacerbate these trends by pushing our population to ever more precarious heights, preventing U.S. population stabilization, forcing annual growth rates to more than three million net new residents, and driving our numbers to a projected 440 million by 2050. …
"In essence, if we American "Bigfeet" do not opt for a different demographic path than the one we are treading now, Ecological Footprint analysis indicates unequivocally that we will continue plodding ever deeper into the forbidden zone of Ecological Overshoot, trampling our prospects for a sustainable future. Incidentally, we would also be trampling the survival prospects for many hundreds of endangered species with which we share our country. These birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, mussels, and other taxa are menaced with extinction by our aggressive exploitation of nearly every ecological niche, nook, and cranny.
"For Americans concerned about the natural environment and resources in the one portion of the planet over which we have the particular obligation and ability to be good stewards, EF analysis reaches the stark conclusion that our country is already well into ecological overshoot… If American environmentalists truly care about the environmental sustainability of their own country, and the world of which it is a part (and over which America exercises disproportionate influence), it behooves them to admit overpopulation and act accordingly. And what would acting accordingly consist of? Actively supporting U.S. population stabilization and reduced immigration levels to the U.S. as an urgent national imperative, on a par with ongoing and emerging efforts promoting energy and resource conservation and efficiency, green technologies, vegetarianism, recycling/reuse, preventing pollution, reducing waste, and protecting species, habitats, and ecosystems."
Leon Kolankiewicz, in From Big to Bigger How Mass Immigration and Population Growth Have Exacerbated America's Ecological Footprint, 2010
"Global population growth, and the problems associated with it, deserve more publicity and acknowledgement than they usually get. But so does population growth in the United States, a topic that many living in the United States need to better understand if for no other reason that we sometimes assume overpopulation is solely a problem of developing nations. … There are many pragmatic concerns with population growth, such as, that as domestic population expands, the U.S. exports fewer crops to help feed the world while we import more crops, meaning we increasingly compete with the world's poor nations for food. And there is the issue of the impacts of high U.S. population growth on the world's environment, despite seeming efforts by some, including the U.S. Census Bureau, to depict our population growth as non-existent or inconsequential. What it boils down to is a stark fact about which almost every American is unaware: The United States is the world's third-most populated nation, behind only China and India."
Kathleene Parker, in The Day of Seven Billion and the World's Most Overpopulated Nation, 2011
'The Sierra Club was once an honorable organization, and not that long ago either. A few decades ago, it was truly bipartisan, as befitted a group trying to protect wilderness. Conservatives were not shunned as members, but were welcomed as part of the team. One example was life-long Republican Dr. Edgar Wayburn, who helped save more than 100,000 acres of scenic wild places during his 103-year lifetime. He was a five-term president of the Sierra Club during the 1960s. But it's inconceivable that a member of the GOP could be elected to that post in today's organization, which has been fundamentally corrupted by left-wing political influence and millions of dollars with ideological strings attached. …
"The impetus for the loss of integrity was simple greed. In the 1990s, the Club came across a deep-pocketed donor with an interest in the environment, one David Gelbaum, a Wall Street investor who had made hundreds of millions of dollars. He was willing to be a generous funder to the Sierra Club, but with one stipulation. As he was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article ("The Man behind the Land," 10/27/04), "I did tell [Sierra Club Executive Director] Carl Pope in 1994 or 1995 that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me."
"But with big money beckoning in return for the disavowal of the clear connection of environmental harm with excessive immigration and population growth, Sierra leadership folded like a cheap lawn chair. … And the Club was very well rewarded indeed by the generous David Gelbaum; the organization received over $100 million dollars in a couple donations over the years 2000 and 2001. In any normal circumstance, such a transaction would be considered a bribe and roundly condemned. But the Club leadership kept the source of the new riches secret, until the 2004 LA Times article revealed Gelbaum as the sugar daddy. …
"Of course, any honest and educated environmentalist understands that human overpopulation is a great danger to sustainable natural systems. If you care about preserving wilderness, protecting species, and having enough water, then piling in another hundred million people every few decades into the high-consuming United States is not the way to go."
Brenda Walker, in The Sierra Club's Profitable Descent into Leftism, 2011
"Who would not feel flattered to be called 'the most influential unknown man in America' by Linda Chavez on the front page of The New York Times ('The Anti-immigrant Crusader,' April 17)? The truth is that my role in pushing one of the stickiest issues of our time into public debate was far more modest than your article implies. Regarding my penchant for working with all sides of the political, ethnic, philosophic, economic, racial, religious and other spectra, that is how one forms a coalition that has political meaning and power. Forming a coalition from people who agree on all issues simply does not work. If this makes for rougher seas than one can stomach, then as Hamlet advised Ophelia, 'Get thee to a nunnery.' "
John Tanton, a letter in The New York Times, April 26, 2011
"The sooner we stabilize our numbers, the sooner we stop running up the 'down' escalator. Stop population increase – stop the escalator - and we have some chance of reaching the top - that is to say a decent life for all. To do that requires several things. First and foremost it needs a much wider understanding of the problem and that will not happen while the absurd taboo on discussing it retains such a powerful grip on the minds of so many worthy and intelligent people. Then it needs a change in our culture so that while everyone retains the right to have as many children as they like, they understand that having large families means compounding the problems their children and everyone else's children will face in the future.
"It needs action by Governments. In my view all countries should develop a population policy – some 70 countries already have them in one form or another – and give it priority. The essential common factor is to make family planning and other reproductive health services freely available to every one and empower and encourage them to use it – though of course without any kind of coercion.
"According to the Global Footprint Network there are already over a hundred countries whose combination of numbers and affluence have already pushed them past the sustainable level. They include almost all developed countries. The UK is one of the worst. There the aim should be to reduce over time both the consumption of natural resources per person and the number of people - while, needless to say, using the best technology to help maintain living standards. It is tragic that the only current population policies in developed countries are, perversely, attempting to increase their birth-rate in order to look after the growing number of old people. The notion of ever more old people needing ever more young people, who will in turn grow old and need even more young people and so on ad infinitum is an obvious ecological Ponzi scheme."
Sir David Attenborough, in RSA's President's Lecture: Planet and Population, 2011
"[W]e, as members of professional scientific societies, call on the AFS [American Fisheries Society], religious leaders, scientists, economists, journalists, and politicians, working in concert with fisheries and other natural resources professionals, to support a markedly reduced ecological footprint for much of North America by advocating and deliberately moving towards zero then negative population growth and economic growth, first in the U.S. and then throughout the North American continent."
Karin E. Limburg, Robert M. Hughes, Donald C. Jackson & Brian Czech, in Human Population Increase, Economic Growth, and Fish Conservation: Collision Course or Savvy Stewardship?, 2011
"The central assertion of this book is both simple and startling: Economic growth as we have known it is over and done with. The "growth" we are talking about consists of the expansion of the overall size of the economy (with more people being served and more money changing hands) and of the quantities of energy and material goods flowing through it. The economic crisis that began in 2007-2008 was both foreseeable and inevitable, and it marks a permanent, fundamental break from past decades – a period during which most economists adopted the unrealistic view that perpetual economic growth is necessary and also possible to achieve… [T]here are three primary factors that stand firmly in the way of further economic growth: the depletion of important resources including fossil fuels and minerals; the proliferation of negative environmental impacts arising from both the extraction and use of resources…; financial disruptions due to the inability of our existing monetary, banking, and investment systems to adjust to both resource scarcity and soaring environmental costs – and their inability (in the context of a shrinking economy) to service the enormous piles of government and private debt that have been generated over the past couple of decades."
"The US has the fastest growing population of any industrialized country – mostly due to immigration (though immigration rates have declined in the last couple of years, probably due to the economic crisis). Already a hot-button issue, immigration could become even more of one as the economy contracts. But further waves of immigrants are possible if Mexico's economy fails due to declining revenues from oil production.
"Further declines in the US economy will shift public opinion toward wanting to restrict immigration and population growth. Every survey since the 1940s has shown that a majority of Americans favors reducing immigration, yet during that time legal immigration as quadrupled (it doubled during Bush I and again under Bush II). Much of the support for liberalizing immigration policy has come from the Democratic party (in its calculus, more immigrants means more Democrats), as well as from the construction industry (more immigrants equal more housing starts), the food industry (which depends on low-paid seasonal farm workers), and the US Chamber of Commerce (immigrants reduce labor costs).
"Sadly, the debate has failed to take account of one key question: What is the population level the US can sustain? By most accounts, the country is already overdrawing its resources, so that future generations will have restricted access to freshwater, fertile soil, and useful minerals. Adding more people through immigration simply steals further from our grandchildren. Gains in the efficiency with which resources are used may help temporarily, but population growth erases those gains over the long run."
Richard Heinberg, in The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality, 2011
"The human population is in overshoot and indications are that it is heading for a crash… By not making population control an integral part of an overall development strategy, Canada is contributing to global population growth and conflict. By driving population growth at home with a policy of mass immigration based on false economic arguments, Canada is destroying its own environment and long-term agricultural capacity as well as turning low consumers and greenhouse gas producers to high consumers and emitters… Canada should seek to stabilize, then reduce its own population. Given our low birthrate, this could easily be achieved by drastically reducing immigration levels."
Madeline Weld, in Feeding the Raging Monster: How Canada Promotes Population Growth at Home and Abroad, 2011
"Unlooked-for but swift, we have come on like a swarm of locusts: a wide, thick, darkling cloud settling down like living snowflakes, smothering every stalk, every leaf, eating away every scrap of green down to raw, bare, wasting earth. It's painfully straightforward. There are too many Men for Earth to harbor. At nearly seven billion of us, we have overshot Earth's carrying capacity. The Man swarm yet swells like the black, living, withering mouth-clouds that have ransacked fields since the first digging stick scratched a line in dirt. The crippling of Earth's life support system by such a flood of upright apes is bad news for us. But it is much worse news for the other Earthlings—animals and plants, wildeors and worts—who are taking a far worse beating than are we for our devil-may-care childishness and greed. Long ago we overshot Earth's carrying capacity for keeping wild things hale and hearty. For many years it has been the booming and spreading overflow of naked apes – us – that has been the greatest threat to brimming, many-fold (manifold) life on Earth… More of our kind means fewer wild things. A stabilized human population means hope for wild things. A shrinking human population means a better world for wild things. And for men and women and children. It's that straightforward."
Dave Foreman, in Man Swarm and the Killing of Wildlife, 2011
"One has to be careful when trying to explain the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). Too much truth and in too much detail leaves those unfamiliar with the program looking at you like you are crazy. Among those unfamiliar with the topic — and therefore unable to completely process and act on information about it — are most of the political elite, especially Congress.
"A wide-ranging review is needed of this costly and out-of-control system. It has failed refugees, both by diverting limited resources from overseas assistance and by the sheer neglect of those resettled in the United States by their "sponsors." The program is rife with fraud, profitable for hundreds of "non-profit" organizations, and is a potential channel for terrorism into American communities.
"Loss of U.S. Control. Policy about who is admitted as a refugee to the United States has been surrendered to the U.N. and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that stand to benefit from the program. In recent years, up to 95 percent of the refugees coming to the United States were referred by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or were putative relatives of U.N.-selected refugees. Given the impact that refugee resettlement has on all other forms of immigration — both legal and illegal — the U.N. can be thought of as setting U.S. immigration policy for future generations of Americans.
"Security Matters. Meaningful background checks are difficult to obtain for refugees admitted from countries without reliable government records. Common criminals, war criminals, international fugitives, and terrorists have all used the USRAP and its related asylum provisions for entry into the United States. Bribery of U.N. officials is commonly reported among those attempting to secure refugee admission to the United States.
"Uncontrolled Growth. After a brief post 9-11 slowdown, the program is now, once again, admitting more refugees than envisioned in the 1980 Refugee Act. At 80,000 refugee admissions planned for 2011, the United States will admit nearly three times the number of refugees as the rest of the developed world combined.
"U.S. Taxpayers Without Borders. The U.S. welfare system is a global magnet, which has been instrumentalized by the international refugee industry. The use of welfare, subsidized housing, Medicaid, and other programs is staggering. Including the cost of ongoing welfare — which is permanent for many refugees — easily raises the cost of the domestic resettlement program to 10 times the official estimates of $1.1 billion annually.
"Exploitation for Profit. Refugee resettlement is very profitable for some non-profits. Religious organizations and NGOs involved in the program consistently refuse to commit any of their own resources for the resettlement effort. Instead, these organizations have turned to the refugee program to generate an income stream, abandoning traditional charitable works that do not pay. Most of the second- and third-tier refugee organizations receiving contracts and grants today are run by former refugees themselves, which has put the program on a perpetual growth trajectory. "American Community Impact. Some American towns have been overwhelmed by the arrival of refugees. At no point are these communities consulted. The closed loop of the U.N., the State Department, and NGOs leaves citizens with no voice in events that affect their communities.
"Chain Immigration. Official refugee admission numbers do not present the full picture. The initial admission leads to exploitation of the chain immigration system. Recent DNA testing revealed false claims of "family connections" as high as 90 percent in some groups. Refugee groups that were originally small and supposedly self-contained have set off significant inflows of legal and illegal immigration.
"Abandonment upon Arrival. Despite PR about supporting refugees, NGOs routinely abandon their charges after four months or less, moving on to the next, more profitable, cycle of recent admissions. NGOs expect the welfare system to take care of refugees. Globalized Disease. Refugees and those arriving on various "following-to-join" programs are bringing in HIV, hepatitis, TB, malaria, and other diseases. Refugees are no longer tested for many diseases such as HIV before admission.
"Congress must mandate a fixed ceiling for annual admissions. Currently Congress defers to the administration for determination of the annual refugee quota, a number that has gone up sharply since 9-11. Today the administration can set whatever number it wants for refugee admissions each year. An annual ceiling of 20,000 would still make the United States the leading resettlement country in the developed world.
"Congress must clarify (again) that resettlement to the United States is a last option for individuals in extreme danger only after the failure of all efforts to return home or settle in the region where the refugee currently resides. U.S. resources should be directed toward helping refugees integrate in place or return to their country of origin."
Don Barnett, in Refugee Resettlement: A System Badly in Need of Review, 2011
"Since we are living beyond the carrying capacity of the planet, we need to move quickly toward stopping population growth and then reducing our numbers. The actual long-term carrying capacity of Earth depends on our life styles and technologies, so it may be impossible to determine with any certainty what an optimal human population is. But what should be clear is that driving population numbers above carrying capacity risks long-term damage to Earth's natural systems and biodiversity and jeopardizes the ability to support future generations of people. Therefore, our goal should be to achieve a population well below the likely upper limit that can be sustained. Since the evidence is strong that the human species is currently in population overshoot, our goal as a global community should be to reverse our current demographic trends and reduce human numbers, until there is good evidence that our population is sustainable."
William Ryerson, in How Do We Solve the Population Problem?, 2012
"At present, a decisive majority of American social scientists, policy makers, and public intellectuals favor domestic population growth. True, a few individuals – some the shipwrecked survivors of an environmental movement that sailed in the 1960s and 1970s – insist that the United States and the planet have too many people and so face ruined economies and ecosystems. … Some popular authors worry about population as well. … On the whole, though, economists and policy makers in twenty first century America celebrate the nation's growth, reserving any unease about population increase for distant lands. … Leading media outlets across the political spectrum have adopted this pro-population growth position. … [E]nviromental concerns about population growth, whether in the US or abroad, have been marginalized and discredited. Television programs routinely celebrate large families, and the tabloids feature celebrities' babies. … Conservative politicians dismiss environmentalists as the "'people are pollution' crowd." … Instead of challenging such views, many liberals observe a taboo against discussing population. Environmental organizations are still sympathetic to the idea that America is overpopulated, but they tend to avoid the issue because it is fraught with political risk. … As a result of the Left's refusal to engage population issues, as well as the prevailing celebration of the economic effects of population growth, the American media today, unlike a generation ago, largely avoids entertaining the possible connections between population increase and environmental and economic welfare."
Derek S. Hoff, in The State and the Stork: The Population Debate and Policy Making in US History, 2012
"[R]egarding wildlife, to assume that the affluence and technology factors [of the I=PAT equation] are necessarily negative is mistaken. Rather, they are a mixed blessing, and sometimes they can mitigate rather than exacerbate a larger [human] population… However… no matter how well we excel as managers, the amount of wildlife we can save is constrained by the amount of uncontaminated, uncompromised, intact habitat remaining. If we continue to increase the number of people, levels of consumption, and aggregate demands upon the land, we will inevitably decrease the abundance and diversity of wildlife. Enlightened management and cutting-edge technologies can only do so much; they cannot work miracles, hoodwink nature or cram a thousand species onto the head of a pin. We can't game the system."
Leon Kolankiewicz, in Overpopulation versus Biodiversity: How a Plethora of People Produces a Paucity of Wildlife, 2012
"This essay argues that a serious commitment to environmentalism entails ending America's population growth and hence a more restrictive immigration policy. The need to limit immigration necessarily follows when we combine a clear statement of our main environmental goals—living sustainably and sharing the landscape generously with other species—with uncontroversial accounts of our current demographic trajectory and of the negative environmental effects of U.S. population growth, nationally and globally."
Philip Cafaro and Winthrop Staples III, in Life on the Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation, 2012
"We must be clear on the meaning of sustainability before we make any more use of the term. A very commonly used definition of sustainability is implied in the following definition of sustainable development which is found in the report of the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations: Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs… Unfortunately, the Brundtland definition contains a flaw. It focuses first on the needs of the present, which have nothing to do with sustainability. This sets the stage for intergenerational conflict in which the present generation wins and future generations lose. We need to rephrase the Brundtland definition as follows: Sustainable development is development that does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs… We must acknowledge that overpopulation is the world's most serious and threatening problem and that this problem requires immediate and urgent attention… We must seek to educate elected officials at all governmental levels about the severe present problems of overpopulation in our own local communities, in the United States and the world. We treasure our democracy but we must remember the words of Isaac Asimov: "Democracy cannot survive overpopulation."… We must break down the mental and other blocks that keep most of our environmental organizations, large and small, from addressing overpopulation on the local and national levels. We need to get all of our mainline scientific associations and societies to act on the recognition that overpopulation is a threat to stable societies. "
Albert A. Bartlett, in The Meaning of Sustainability, 2012
"At one end of the political spectrum are the "population naysayers," who believe that demographic arguments represent a false, quick fix to our environmental problems. From their perspective, the primary solutions include reducing consumption in developed countries and countering environmental degradation at the hands of corporations… Yet another area of conflict between populationists and social justice advocates involves immigration. Many population advocates believe that the primary responsibility to deal with population issues falls to individual countries and their citizens, and that this responsibility encompasses immigration policy. From their perspective, immigration typically needs to be limited, primarily to avoid undermining efforts by receiving countries to stabilize their populations, but also to pressure high emigration countries to face their responsibilities to reduce their own population growth… However, social justice advocates reject this logic. They criticize those making environmental arguments for stabilizing U.S. population growth, or reducing immigration levels, as unjust and "anti-immigrant." … Apparently the long-time environmental adage, "think globally, act locally," does not apply to population growth! But surely, treating the entire planet as a global village, or one open commons, is a formula for inaction and failure. Deforestation is a global problem, desertification is a global problem, climate change is a global problem. All these problems benefit from strong international cooperation, in conjunction with strong national policies that address them as well. No one seriously suggests that international efforts should take the place of national policies to address these issues… The need for action at a variety of levels is acknowledged in the case of every other major environmental issue on the international agenda."
Don Weeden & Charmayne Palomba, in A Post-Cairo Paradigm: Both Numbers and Women Matter, 2012
"[I]n the Fall 2011 issue of The Social Contract. Stuart Hurlbert related how CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization) had applied for, been granted, and then was denied an exhibitor's booth at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting to be held in Vancouver, Canada, in February, 2012. The reason? CAPS apparently did not "align" with AAAS. Further enquiries as to what exactly that meant revealed that CAPS was considered to have "a concerted political agenda and lobbying effort around immigration issues that impact the state of California and are of interest to its residents." More unsuccessful rounds with the AAAS meetings manager, to whom it was explained that CAPS' interests include the impact of population growth not only in California but throughout America and the world, led to an appeal to the AAAS Board of Directors." … Not surprisingly, CAPS noted that that response was a bit disingenuous, given that other organizations allowed to exhibit at the AAAS meeting have political agendas and engage in educating and lobbying. Furthermore, in July, two months before the exchange with CAPS, AAAS had published an issue of its flagship journal Science on population. One would think that AAAS might therefore consider the point of view of an organization such as CAPS, concerned as it is with population stabilization, to be of interest to its multidisciplinary membership… One hundred people agreed to [sign a letter to AAAS protesting censorship], many of them senior scientists or leaders of NGOs… Schindler and Weld asked AAAS to reconsider its decision regarding CAPS, but failing that, to allow PIC [Population Institute Canada] to have the booth that had been denied to CAPS… To summarize this sad tale: CAPS' application for a booth was rejected by AAAS because CAPS was considered (incorrectly) to be focused only on immigration and California and therefore perceived to be too political. On the other hand, PIC's application was rejected because it proposed to present literature from a wide variety of organizations and authors on population issues on national and global scales. Garrett Hardin, not a member of PIC, published Tragedy of the Commons in a non-PIC venue (Science), so the tender sensibilities of AAAS meeting attendees had to be protected from seeing a stack of that still relevant essay. Jack Vallentyne was not a PIC member either, so distribution to attendees of hot-off-the-press copies of his posthumously published essay on Consumption: The Other Side of Population for Development was similarly proscribed. Go figure."
David Schindler, Madeline Weld & Stuart Hurlbert, in American Association for the Advancement of Silence (On National Population Policies) Muffles 'Obnoxious Canadians Too, 2012
"Yes, everything you know about economics is wrong. Dead wrong. Everything. The conclusions of economists are based on a fiction that distorts everything else. As a result economics is as real as one of the summer blockbusters like "Battleship," "The Avenger" or "Prometheus." The difference is that the economic profession is a genuine threat, not entertainment. Economics dogma is on track to destroy the world with a misleading ideology. Why? Because all economics is based on the absurd Myth of Perpetual Growth. Yes, all theories and business plans based on growth are mythological. Economists are master illusionists who rely on a set of fictions, fantasies and forecasts that emanate from a core magical mantra of Perpetual Growth that goes untested year after year.
"[D]riving the economists' growth myth is population growth. It's the independent variable in their equation. Population growth drives all other derivative projections, forecasts and predictions. All GDP growth, income growth, wealth growth, production growth, everything. These unscientific growth assumptions fit into the overall left-brain, logical, mind-set of western leaders, all the corporate CEOs, Wall Street bankers and government leaders who run America and the world.
"Will we change? In time? Plan ahead? No, we won't wake up without a collapse. We know the Myth of Perpetual Growth is pure fiction. But we also know our leaders, capitalists, economists and politicians all live in a collective conscience that must believe in this bizarre myth in order to justify everything they believe about the future, about progress, about income and wealth increasing, about a better life. So we will all hang on … until a catastrophe shocks our world, forces us to wake up and let go, newly aware of the absurdity of the Myth of Perpetual Growth on a planet of finite resources. And it will happen sooner than you think."
Paul B. Farrell, in Myth of Perpetual Growth is Killing America, 2012
"With the world population now over seven billion and well on its way to reaching nine to 10 billion in just a few more decades, we should definitely be aware of the impacts of future population growth on the earth. However, population growth is also a U.S. and Vermont problem. Vermonters should be concerned for the following reasons. I estimate that a truly sustainable population size [for Vermont] is about two-thirds of the current 626,000, and perhaps even less. … The average ecological footprint of a U.S. citizen is also about 25 acres, meaning that if we had to depend on our own resources we could accommodate a population of only about 40 percent of our current size.
"Vermonters value their rural landscape and small communities. However, that has declined dramatically since the state's population growth started to rise in the 1960s. Sprawl, traffic congestion, crowded public outdoor recreation spaces, … land and real estate prices rising so much that the average Vermonter has difficulty paying for a home, never mind a summer cottage on a lake or a hunting camp as they used to just a few decades ago, have significantly diminished the quality of life for many.
"According to most scientific data, Vermont's environment has deteriorated significantly in recent decades. Approximately 200,000 acres of land have been developed (actually in a sense destroyed, because there is no biocapacity left) and Vermont's forest cover is now in decline for the first time in over a century. … Population growth is the underlying cause of essentially every one of our environmental problems. It is long past time that we started to deal with the cause of the problems and not just the symptoms, an approach that is clearly not working."
George Plumb, in True Sustainability Achievable Only With Population Stabilization, Even in Vermont, 2012
"If immigration continues as the Census Bureau expects, the nation's population will increase from 309 million in 2010 to 436 million in 2050 — a 127 million (41 percent) increase. … The Census Bureau assumes net immigration (legal and illegal) by 2050 will total 68 million. These future immigrants plus their descendants will add 96 million residents to the U.S. population, accounting for three-fourths of future population growth.
"Even if immigration is half what the Census Bureau expects, the population will still grow 79 million by 2050, with immigration accounting for 61 percent of population growth. … Though projections past 2050 are much more speculative, if the level of immigration the Census Bureau foresees in 2050 were to continue after that date, the U.S. population would reach 618 million by 2100 — double the 2010 population.
"Consistent with prior research, the projections show immigration only slightly increases the working-age (18 to 65) share of the population. Assuming the Census Bureau's immigration level, 58 percent of the population will be of working-age in 2050, compared to 57 percent if there is no immigration. Raising the retirement age by one year would have a larger positive impact on the working-age share over the next 40 years than would the Census Bureau's total projected level of net immigration (68 million)."
Steven A. Camarota, in Projecting Immigration's Impact on the Size and Age Structure of the 21st Century American Population, 2012
"Media reports on the wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world for the most part ignore a crucial underlying factor: rapid, unsustainable population growth. Seventeen years ago, Egypt, one of the countries at the center of the current unrest, hosted the International Conference on Population and Development. Under the influence of feminist and social justice non-governmental organizations, population reduction as an end in itself was off the agenda as antithetical to women's rights. A focus on development alone was expected to bring about a reduction in population growth. In the absence of national or international (United Nations) population strategies, financial support for family planning has fallen sharply and population growth has remained rapid. Consequently, development has lagged, and a deteriorating environment and resource scarcity have led to conflict in many regions.
"Many population activists are ready to take on the dogmatically based religious injunctions against family planning and abortion. But when it comes to the dogmatically based feminist and social justice arguments against population control, we often fail to challenge their faulty premises and misguided conclusions. We have allowed them to appropriate for themselves the moral high ground on this issue, which they have held not with reasoned arguments, but with unsubstantiated accusations of racism, sexism, colonialism, not wanting to share the wealth, and other ad hominem attacks, with which they have suppressed an open, civil discussion. We have allowed ourselves to be intimidated by these bully tactics to the detriment of all living things—human beings and the biodiversity of Earth. It is time to drive the ideologues off the territory they are illegally occupying with a 'fact-based revolution'—by simply presenting the facts, fearlessly and persistently.
"At the Cairo conference in 1994, the world fled from numbers. But, as current events in Cairo and elsewhere are showing, we cannot flee from the consequences of those numbers. The Marxist feminist/social justice ideology that denies the population factor and vilifies those who address it is as long-lived as some of the dictators in the Arab world and, like them, finds itself on shaky ground, because ideology cannot trump reality. An ideology that claims to promote social justice, but does not recognize that the Earth is finite, is more than unethical. It is dangerous to those now living, to future generations, and to all life on Earth. It must be overthrown. We have all the weapons we need: arguments based on reason and hard facts."
Madeline Weld, in Deconstructing the Dangerous Dogma of Denial: The Feminist-Environmental Justice Movement and Its Flight from Overpopulation, 2012
"Let's get specific. Here are ten policies for ending uneconomic growth and moving to a steady-state economy. A steady-state economy is one that develops qualitatively (by improvement in science, technology, and ethics) without growing quantitatively in physical dimensions; it lives on a diet — a constant metabolic flow of resources from depletion to pollution (the entropic throughput) maintained at a level that is both sufficient for a good life and within the assimilative and regenerative capacities of the containing ecosystem. … 9. Stabilize population. Work toward a balance in which births plus in-migrants equals deaths plus out-migrants. This is controversial and difficult, but as a start contraception should be made available for voluntary use everywhere. And while each nation can debate whether it should accept many or few immigrants, and who should get priority, such a debate is rendered moot if immigration laws are not enforced. We should support voluntary family planning and enforcement of reasonable immigration laws, democratically enacted. … Trying to maintain the present growth-based Ponzi system is far more unrealistic than moving to a steady-state economy by something like the policies here outlined. It is probably too late to avoid unrealism's inevitable consequences. But while we are hunkered down and unemployed, enduring the crash, we might think about the principles that should guide reconstruction."
Herman E. Daly, in Top 10 Policies for a Steady-State Economy, 2013
"At current levels of around one million immigrants per year, immigration makes the U.S. economy larger, with almost all of this increase in GDP accruing to the immigrants themselves as a payment for their labor services. For American workers, immigration is primarily a redistributive policy. Economic theory predicts that immigration will redistribute income by lowering the wages of competing American workers and increasing the wages of complementary American workers as well as profits for business owners and other 'users' of immigrant labor. … The best empirical research that tries to examine what has actually happened in the U.S. labor market aligns well with economic theory."
George Borjas, in Immigration and the American Worker: A Review of the Academic Literature, 2013
"President Barack Obama came to office in 2009 and pledged that during his first year of office he would enact amnesty legislation for illegal aliens living in the United States. … Understanding that Members of Congress ultimately would not ignore the unequivocal objections of their constituents to amnesty, the Obama Administration opted to adopt a strategy of dismantling immigration enforcement in order to achieve the same ends. The Administration hoped that while the American people were focused on unemployment, crashing real estate values, banking scandals, health care reform, foreign policy crises, and countless other issues, they would not notice just what was actually taking place.
"This report details how the Obama Administration has carried out a policy of de facto amnesty for millions of illegal aliens through executive policy decisions. Since taking office in 2009, the Obama Administration has systematically gutted effective immigration enforcement policies, moved aggressively against state and local governments that attempt to enforce immigration laws, and stretched the concept of "prosecutorial discretion" to a point where it has rendered many immigration laws meaningless. Remarkably, the Administration has succeeded in doing all this with barely a peep of protest from Congress. Thus, despite the fact that the U.S. Constitution grants Congress plenary authority over immigration policy, the Executive Branch is now making immigration policy unconstrained by constitutional checks and balances. This report chronologically highlights the process that has unfolded over the past four years. A review of the Obama Administration's record shows:
- The Administration's conscious effort to end policies that effectively enforce and deter illegal immigration…
- The Administration's intimidation of state and local governments determined to enforce federal immigration laws…
- The Administration's dependence on illegal alien advocates to make U.S. immigration policy for the Executive Branch…
- Outright deception on the part of the Administration designed to convince the American public that immigration laws are being vigorously enforced. The Obama Administration repeatedly engages in efforts to inflate its record of deporting illegal aliens…
"The Obama Administration's strategy is to count on the fact that the public and the media will not take notice of each individual and incremental step they are taking to undermine immigration enforcement and grant de facto amnesty to as many illegal aliens as possible."
Federation for American Immigration Reform, in President Obama's Record of Dismantling Immigration Enforcement, 2013
"Realistically however, a policy of open borders obviously invites the tragedy of the open access commons. It is its own reductio ad absurdum, as indicated in the previous paragraph. Probably that is why, in the full world of today, no country practices it, and few people advocate it. Nevertheless, it should be fairly discussed, because some people certainly do advocate it. In addition to the cheap-labor lobby, advocacy of open borders comes both from the politically correct faction of left-wing economists, and from the libertarian faction right-wing economists. The politically correct reflexively label any limits on immigration as thinly disguised "racism," apparently the only evil they can recognize. The libertarian neoclassicals label any restriction on immigration as a "market distortion," their single cardinal sin. Both consider themselves advanced cosmopolitans, morally superior to the nationalistic populists whose first concern is with the poor in their own community. Probably this agreement between opposite extremes in support of open borders is evidence that neither side has yet thought very clearly about the matter. Unfortunately, lack of clear thinking, aided by moralistic pretension, is often a political advantage."
Herman E. Daly, in Open Borders and the Tragedy of Open Access Commons, 2013
"Senator Chuck Schumer, the real leader of the "Gang of 8," recently said, "This has the potential for being one of the greatest civil rights movements we've ever seen. I could see, at the end of this summer, a million people on the Mall in August asking for the bill [Senate Bill 744]". The comparison of the civil rights movement to illegal aliens seeking amnesty is ludicrous and offensive. Blacks were brought to this land in chains and denied equal rights for centuries. They were not immigrants, legal or otherwise. The illegal aliens are in our streets, not in the shadows, and willingly entered this country and knowingly violated our laws in multiple ways. Now they are demanding that their crimes be rewarded by having their status legalized, including an immediate work permit and a path to citizenship. Despite this egregious comparison, Schumer may have inadvertently stumbled onto the real civil rights issue of our time – mass immigration versus the rights of American workers… As a letter from three members of the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights documents, an amnesty will 'likely disproportionately harm lower-skilled African-Americans by making it more difficult for them to obtain employment and depressing their wages when they do obtain employment.' The U.S. government is systematically violating the rights of American workers by importing millions of foreign workers without any correlation to the nation's job needs. This results in job loss and wage depression for American citizens. The government compounds the problem by not securing our borders and not enforcing our existing laws."
Michael McLaughlin, in Mass Immigration versus the Rights of American Workers, 2013
"[K]nowledge of these problems is good for only one thing: developing the conviction to address them. For those without that conviction, there is no need to belabor the point. Besides, plenty of books are available to describe the impending environmental and socioeconomic crises in far greater detail… For each individual problem, of course, there seems to be a clear technological fix. Stop burning fossil fuels and emitting CFCs. Stop applying chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Stop drilling wells and tapping springs. Figure out another way here, another way there. Soon enough, however, the list become overwhelming, and one does not know where to turn next. All of these actions cause prices to rise… But it is not so hopelessly complex. There is one simple process driving all these problems: economic growth. Halting economic growth now will not guarantee a healthy, happy future for the grandkids, but it will at least allow for one… While open borders are conducive to freedom of choice, and constitute a generous policy of host countries, it must also be seen at this point in history that open borders allow for evermore overcrowding, or evermore overfilling of national economies… The closest thing to a compromise of accountability, then, would be for wealthy countries to shut down their borders in proportion to their slowing of GDP growth. In other words, a wealthier country announcing and undertaking the transition to the steady state economy would be justified in shutting down its borders, and supported in international diplomacy for doing so."
Brian Czech, in Supply Shock: Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution, 2013
"When a nation's population is growing it is usually accompanied by a sense of optimism, which is then followed by a desire for expansion. This was the case in both Germany and Japan when WWII broke out. In 1931 Japan's population was 64.5 million and occupied 145,882 square miles of land. (Its total fertility rate, or TFR, reached 4.1 by the late 1930s.) Japan cast its eye on Manchuria, seeing it as a source of limitless natural resources and as a buffer between itself and Russia, and invaded in September 1931. … A similar situation occurred in Germany. Its TFR in 1939 was 2.6. Among other things, Germany wanted lebensraum (living space) for its people. Hitler pushed east during WWII to annihilate the Slavic peoples in Ukraine and Russia so those lands could be populated with Germans. But he and his generals underestimated the endurance and valor of the Russian people, as well as the bitterly cold winter conditions under which they would be fighting. …
"One reason for the world's relative peace and stability today is that all developed countries have a TFR of less than 2.1. (Singapore's is 1.2.) Some fast-growing developing countries also have low TFRs; for instance, China's TFR for 2012 is estimated to be 1.6. Such countries no longer have a need to go searching for lebensraum. But many developing countries have high TFRs, the largest of these being India, with its 2012 TFR estimated to be 2.6. This means more overcrowding and inadequate infrastructure, schools, and medical and social services. Africa has even higher TFRs, with many of its countries between 4 and 7, far higher than the replacement rate of 2.1.
"The world has suffered the consequences of expanding populations before. What looms on the horizon? And will we be prepared to confront it?"
Lee Kuan Yew, in Declining Populations Make Peaceful Neighbors, 2013
"Sustainability is the ability of a system to maintain functioning over an extended period of time. It depends upon the continuous availability of the materials and energy required to maintain system functioning and the ability of the surrounding environment to assimilate wastes from the system. The term has been adopted widely over the last 25 years as the ongoing debate about the earth's capacity to support the population and level of economic activity has developed. … The megatrends described above will impact human and natural systems at the landscape level differentially. Emerging energy scarcity will pervasively impact the economy making almost everything more expensive and reducing discretionary income. This will interact with climate change, ecosystem services and population density to differentially compromise the sustainability of different regions. … The least sustainable region will likely be the southwestern part of the country from the southern plains to California. Climate change is already impacting this region and it is projected to get hotter and drier. Winter precipitation is predicted to be more rain and less snow. These trends will lead to less water for direct human consumption and for agriculture. This is critical since practically all agriculture in the region is irrigated."
J.W. Day, M. Moerschbaecher, D. Pimentel, C. Hall, and A. Yáñez-Arancibia, in Sustainability and place: How emerging mega-trends of the 21st century will affects humans and nature at the landscape level, 2013
"FAIR is here standing strong to urge a livable, prosperous future for all Americans in the 21st Century; a prosperity that can only be achieved when America restores national self-determination in our immigration policy. Let's move forward to a nation that can re-join the family of nations able to manage their borders.
"In our 35 years, much progress has been made as we have shored up enforcement and prevented the introduction of one special interest policy after another – policies that collectively would have long ago blown the lid off overall immigration. While we have not achieved all our original goals, we have been able to bring wisdom, energy and firmness to the public debates in order to ensure an enlarged view of the national interest. But now we face a severe crisis: We face an administration determined to permanently roll back our progress and permanently impair the nation's capacity to enforce our immigration laws. The agenda is simple: prevent the nation from imposing enforceable immigration limits.
"President Obama and his congressional allies call what they seek "reform." It is no such thing. Reform usually means fixing a problem in order to prevent its recurrence moving forward. This was the premise behind the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. Today the term "reform" seeks to mask a gargantuan special interest give away and bankrupting amnesty program that will permanently undermine economic mobility and the future stability of what remains of the American middle class. Only truth can stop this madness. As Churchill said, it is not sufficient to do our best; we must do what is necessary to win."
Dan Stein, in Federation for American Immigration Reform: Celebrating 35 Years, 2014
"Deploying the techniques of Capitalism and new technologies in food production and public health, we have engineered an astounding growth in human populations and their demands on Earth’s resources. We have entered the zone of overshoot, in which those resources are insufficient to maintain the populations dependent upon them, and human overload is damaging the biosphere and reducing the Earth’s capacity to support us and other creatures.
"In humans’ brief time on Earth, various civilizations have experienced Darwinian growth, and crashed when they ran down or ran through their resources. None have grown so spectacularly as the world-wide system of Capitalism, none of them systematically structured themselves to pursue growth, as Capitalism has done, and none have faced a systemic collapse as total as the world economy now faces.
"The U.N. Population Division in 2011 projected that the 58 "high fertility" countries’ population will rise from 1.2 billion now to 4.2 billion by 2100…. I don’t think the numbers will get there ore anywhere near it, because starvation will drive the mortality up. Those people will be desperate to migrate to less impoverished lands. What can we do to avoid being inundated by immigrant? The issue is particularly poignant if we develop a sense of community, and the Earth is the community. Do we allow a portion of the world’s people to starve? Can we prevent it? Or do we starve with them? Can they learn to manage their own fertility, very quickly? We can try (as we have tried) to help them to pursue lower fertility. But it is hugely difficult to undertake such social engineering in societies that are close to anarchy. … Migration will not solve the problems; it will cause them to metastasize. The more prosperous nations may well decide to protect ourselves by defending our borders, but it would be a heartrending and partial solution. … We need to learn to think as a community and recognize our shared interest in reversing the growth that threatens us all."
Lindsey Grant, in Capitalism: Growth, Greed and Collapse, 2014
"To some people, notes Simon Hankinson in a recent column in The Fiscal Times, immigration reform "means that America does not admit enough immigrants legally and quickly." This, incredibly, is at a time when – for the past 25 years – we've had the highest sustained level of legal immigration in our history, averaging around a million a year. In addition, during that period, several hundred thousand illegal immigrants per year have entered and settled permanently in the U.S. …
"Immigration advocates style themselves as compassionate and moral for wanting to keep our Golden Door of immigration wide open. They insist that immigrants are the finest of people. Be that as it may, they have no excuse to dodge the simple question of just how many fine people can we accept before sheer numbers overwhelm us – fiscally, culturally and environmentally. It is not compassion to ignore practical consequences; it is grossly unethical and grossly irresponsible."
John Vinson, in Just How Many Immigrants? Let the Debate Begin, 2015
"Human population growth and its environmental and economic impacts are among the most critical issues for the planet. Over the last four years three different population-focused NGOs have tried to have exhibitor booths at AAAS meetings. All have been turned down. The 2011 battles by Californians for Population Stabilization and Population Institute Canada to have booths at the 2012 AAAS meeting in Vancouver have been recounted elsewhere, as has AAAS’s exclusion of substantive discussion of U.S. population growth and policies from its flagship journal, Science. Most scientists scream bloody murder when others suppress knowledge. But a few are in fact happy to censor when it suits their own ideological predispositions.
"One positive consequence of those earlier battles was the formation of a new national NGO, Scientists and Environmentalists for Population Stabilization (SEPS). SEPS now educates people not only on population issues but on the problem of censorship by scientists of other scientists as well. SEPS applied for a booth at the 2014 AAAS meeting in Chicago and was rejected. So when it applied for one at the 2016 AAAS meeting in Washington DC it listed in its application the 19 scientific societies that since 2012 have warmly welcomed SEPS exhibitor booths at their meetings. No society other than AAAS has ever rejected a booth application from SEPS. The 2016 application also listed 40 current or former presidents of scientific societies who were endorsing SEPS’ application. But no luck. The narrow-mindedness of AAAS staff once again trumped the judgment of large numbers of top scientists both in and out of SEPS, including the meeting organizers of 19 other societies. … The problem here is far bigger than rejection by AAAS of booth applications from a few NGOs. The AAAS staff and board of directors seem to have decided, surreptitiously, to exclude substantive discussion of U.S. population issues from all AAAS venues."
Stuart H. Hurlbert, inAAAS Wields the Censor’s Hammer on U.S. Population Issues, 2016