Woke Dems, Enviros Scoff at Original Earth Day Concern: Population Growth

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Woke Dems and Enviros Scoff at Original Earth Day Concern: Population Growth
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Article date: 
20 April 2021
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Our American Future
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CAIRCO note: Earth Day was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) in 1970 as a day of education on environmental issues. Earth Day embraced an understanding of the root cause of our environmental issues: population growth, which in America is driven by mass immigration. Earth Day will occur on April 22, 2021.

The contemporary "woke" environmentalist establishment -- which is closely allied with the Democratic Party and its progressive goals and narratives -- would be unrecognizable to the activists who founded the green movement a half-century ago.

At the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, activists' top priority was stabilizing U.S. and global population growth. Environmentalists and scientists alike recognized that a constantly growing population would mean more and more consumption and pollution.

Earth Day's founder, liberal U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI), spoke out vigorously and frequently against unsustainable population growth until his dying day in 2005. And his concerns were broadly shared by leaders in both parties. President Nixon -- who also created the EPA -- established a bipartisan national Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, chaired by John D. Rockefeller III, which issued its findings in 1972. The commission urged the U.S. government to curb population growth, embrace a stable population, and not increase immigration levels -- which were then running about one-third of what they are today -- all for primarily environmental reasons.

This broad bipartisan consensus on population growth and the environment persisted until about the mid-nineties. A quarter-century ago, inspired by the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development ("Earth Summit") in Rio de Janeiro, President Clinton established a Council on Sustainable Development.

In 1996, that Council's Task Force on Population and Consumption, co-chaired by former U.S. Senator Tim Wirth (D-CO), concluded that: "reducing immigration levels is a necessary part of population stabilization and the drive toward sustainability."

A quarter-century on, while Democrats and environmentalists still give lip service to sustainability, they largely ignore or deny that human population growth -- which of course affects the quantity of energy used and carbon emitted -- has anything to do with climate change or America's disappearing open spaces.

This is not because the problem has disappeared or been solved. America has added 130 million new residents since that first Earth Day celebration, at a rate of 20 to 30 million more resource users and polluters per decade. Globally, more than 80 million are added to the Earth's human population every year.

When it comes to consumption and waste production it matters very much where people live. Americans' environmental footprint is far larger than citizens of any other populous nation. We should work toward reducing that footprint while at the same time working toward population stabilization.

The USA is now on a demographic trajectory that will carry us from 330 million to more than 400 million in several decades and 500 million by 2100. According to the Pew Research Center, about 90 percent of this growth will be due to future immigration.

This is not even including the Biden administration's immigration proposals, which according to NumbersUSA, would add 37 million legal permanent residents -- essentially, a whole California -- to the U.S. population in the first decade alone.

What do leading environmental groups have to say about this additional population pressure on America's environment? Zilch. Nothing. Nada.

Instead, they are obsessed with denouncing Trump's stalled border barrier and showing their Diversity, Equity, Inclusion bona fides by trashing the movement pioneers. In recent months, the Sierra Club has defenestrated its founder John Muir, while the Audubon Society has done the same to its namesake John James Audubon.

Environmentalists also blame global warming on America's SUVs, pick-up trucks, fossil-fueled power plants, and McMansions. They claim that because it's "our fault," we have an ethical obligation to allow any and all people from around the world to flood into our country. This is how we atone or repent for our environmental sins.

All of these prospective migrants, obviously, are presumed to be fleeing the destabilizing effects of the climate change that our self-indulgent SUVs and McMansions have caused. They themselves have no agency and bear no responsibility for their plight. This robs migrants of their dignity.

The impossibility of proving or disproving these vague, open-ended moral claims is beside the point; the point is that there are literally billions of people who may be affected -- or plausibly claim to be affected -- to one extent or another by a changing climate in the coming decades. The only solution proffered by moral-absolutist environmentalist scolds is to open the U.S. borders.

Unlimited U.S. population growth turbocharged by unlimited immigration flows (open borders) that groups like Sierra and Audubon tacitly support will undermine all of their purported goals, from saving wildlife habitats, wilderness, and imperiled species to reducing air and water pollution in minority communities.

Oh yes, and it will also subvert the effort to slash U.S. carbon emissions -- because it increases the number of U.S. energy users and carbon emitters with no end in sight.

Leon Kolankiewicz is vice-president of Scientists and Environmentalists for Population Stabilization.