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For 9 months, I’ve asked fellow environmentalists why they don’t address immigration as population issue

author Published by Rob Harding

For 9 months, I’ve had scores of conversations with environmental leaders and thinkers about immigration’s impact on the U.S. population and environment.

I heard some of this:

I hope the Trump administration is successful at reducing future immigration flows because such incessant population growth is inhibiting our ability to conserve other species’ habitats. But I won’t share this view publicly in today’s polarized political climate.” – a university editor of an environmental newsletter

I’m all in on population control in the US, have a bookshelf full of books here at home, and I’ve never lost sight of the firm connection between population growth and habitat loss and global warming. But it has been increasingly challenging to come out for immigration reductions as the number of right-wing racist crazies has increased.” – a leader in a national conservation groupp


As we approach the 50th anniversary of Earth Day (in 2020), I’ve wanted to know why I’m not seeing much leadership from environmental groups, leaders and writers in supporting limits to immigration that would allow the U.S. population to stabilize in this century.

After all, {text} – (D-Wis.) was clear about the responsibility of environmentalists to address these issues:

The bigger the population gets, the more serious the problems become… 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.'” – Gaylord Nelson, 2001 interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

I’ve spent these last nine months in conversations with fellow environmentalists across several disciplines who understand our current state of global ecological overshoot and its axiomatic connection to the size and growth of human populations.

While most of the people I spoke with recognize immigration’s role in driving continued U.S. population growth and acknowledge that such growth undermines U.S. ecological sustainability, many of the same people refuse to publicly support limiting immigration as a necessary component of any plan to achieve U.S. population stabilization.

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