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America’s overshoot is magnified by mass immigration

author Published by Henry Barbaro

Illegal immigration has surpassed the population of 36 U.S. states.

This year, Earth Overshoot Day falls on August 2nd, and marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. This deficit happens when stocks of ecological resources are depleted, and pollution overwhelms the assimilative capacity of the environment.  Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by the Global Footprint Network, an international research organization that advocates for the human economy to operate within Earth’s ecological limits.

It should come as no surprise that the United States is far from a sustainable society and, as an individual country, will hit its Overshoot Day this year on March 14th.  The Global Footprint Network estimates that, at current levels of resource consumption and waste generation, America has more than twice as many people as can be sustained by our nation’s carrying capacity.

Please send a message to your members of Congress.  Urge them to reduce immigration-driven population growth by passing H.R.2, the Secure the Border Act, by any means necessary.  Only then can America start to reconcile our unsustainable resource consumption and persistent urban sprawl, and work toward preserving quality-of-life for future generations.

NumbersUSA has studied another aspect of “overshoot” – urban sprawl – for more than 20 years.  Between 2002 and 2017, an estimated 17,800 square miles of natural and agricultural lands were converted into residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation land uses.  This is more than double the land area of New Jersey.

One of the critical ways that urban sprawl depletes America’s ecological resources is by consuming natural lands such as wildlife habitat, which is the primary reason so many species are being driven to extinction.  Other causes of habitat loss (and fragmentation) include timber harvesting and clearing for agriculture, wetlands filling, water projects (e.g., dams, water withdrawals), and pollution.  All of these are driven by America’s population growth, which is a direct result of federal immigration policy.

As the following chart from the Global Footprint Network shows, Americans have grown increasingly efficient with our use of resources (i.e., our per capita ecological footprint). But we haven’t grown more sustainable  — that is, the U.S. ecological deficit (gap between footprint and biocapacity) has increased — because the amount of natural resources (i.e., our biocapacity) per person has also declined. Why? In part because we have converted them into urbanized areas to accommodate immigration-driven population growth.

To protect biodiversity and address the relentless loss of wildlife habitat, the Biden administration has issued an executive order directing Federal officials to protect 30% of the country’s lands and oceans by 2030 (i.e., “30×30 Plan”).  The Plan is considered to be a crucial step toward preserving America’s most biologically rich ecosystems, e.g., as identified by The New York Timesbiodiversity maps.  Unfortunately, without a change in the trajectory of our nation’s population growth, the President Biden’s plan is doomed to fail.

The difficult truth is that the most direct and fundamental way to resolve America’s decline in biodiversity is to reduce immigration to gradually bring down our population growth rate to the point of achieving sustainability.

America is unique among the fastest-growing countries because our high growth in numbers is entirely the result of our nation’s permissive immigration policies.  Since President Biden took office, Illegal immigration alone has added more than the population of thirty six states. That is not sustainable. Biden is calling on Congress to send him a bill to address the border crisis, but he’s asking for the wrong bill.

It’s clear that America is headed in the opposite direction of achieving a sustainable population or the goals of the 30×30 Plan.  Our leaders in Congress must develop authentic reforms to our immigration policies and drastically reduce the rate of illegal immigration, which has become more than double that of the legal rate.

Better Immigration Is Possible: Action Board

Explore: SprawlUSA.comSustainability InitiativeOur Studies

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