OPINION: Earth Day and Overpopulation

By: Kevin Dube, 5/24

On April 22nd the 55th Earth Day was celebrated.

Sadly, it came with little fanfare this year.

Sure, there were a few mentions. Some politicians touted their green credibility and the moves they are making to save the planet, all of which involve massive spending programs and lowering living standards for western nations.

Local sustainability committees held clean up days and touted recycling efforts and composting programs. One thing you heard nothing about from those politicians or groups was any discussion of overpopulation.

A question I always ask when topics of the environment come up is: how we maintain or increase our standard of living, while also saving the planet, and increasing population. I have yet to receive a satisfactory answer to this question. The reality is, you can’t do all three. Increasing the living standards, and saving the environment should be the primary objectives for those of us that care about future generations. Regardless how low you set the bar on living standards there is no such thing as “sustainable growth.”

So why is our government focused primarily on population growth?

Earth Day was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat. Senator Nelson’s main focus was on overpopulation and its effects on the environment. In those early days population stabilization was the main focus of the Earth Day movement. As of the first Earth Day in 1970 there were roughly 3.3 billion people on Earth, and about 205 million people in the US. Today there are over 8 billion people on the planet and the US population has swelled to over 350 million.

What happened?

With all this focus on the planet, and the environment, why did population growth not only get lost, but rather actually become a taboo subject?

The answer is simple: money. Political campaigns, especially at that national level, are expensive. Sure, there are FEC limits on individual contributions, and corporate and foreign donors are prohibited from donating to individual campaigns. However, super PACs have no such limits.

The truly big money has no interest in limiting population growth. More people mean more sales of everything from toothpaste to toilet paper. Real estate developers especially require never ending growth.

After all, without more people there is no need for more housing. This is why corporate funded groups like the Sierra Club focus on things like planting trees and banning plastic bags rather than allow any discussion of overpopulation to come into the narrative.

Until we end our unsustainable addiction to population growth, we really aren’t doing anything to “save the planet.” In the US that means severely curtailing immigration. Look at what is happening in both the US and in MA. The US borders are virtually open, and the Biden administration is doing everything to ensure all “migrants” can stay in perpetuity.

In MA, where existing residents are fleeing in droves our government is bending over backward to attract as many of those “newcomers” as they can. Both the Biden and Healey administrations, and their supporters, are telling us we have to give up cars, meat, single family homes and a myriad of other things to save the planet.

At the same time, they tell us anyone opposing immigration are racist xenophobes. The only solution is more government spending for everything from green energy to more efficient high-density housing. All of which puts more money in their donor’s pockets.

Decades ago, Senator Nelson stated: “As far as I know, most organizations are avoiding population issues because they’re politically frightened by the charge that comes from some proponents of immigration that if you oppose the immigration policy we have now, you’re a racist. There is no way in the world we can forge a sustainable society without stabilizing the population. …

There’s no practical way of stabilizing the population of the U.S. without reducing the immigration rate. When do we decide we have to do something, or do we wait until things are as bad here as they are in the countries people want to leave?” When will we truly begin to honor the true spirit of Earth Day and address the primary cause of environmental issues, our human population footprint?

While we in the US cannot control population growth in other countries, we certainly can here. Remember the phrase “think globally, act locally.” When it comes to population growth in the US that means lowering immigration. To quote Senator Nelson again “in this country, it’s phony to say, ‘I’m for the environment but not for limiting immigration.’” ◊