Changing the technologies by which we consume is unlikely to reduce overall impact as long as we continue to increase the number of consumers. The United States has one of the highest per capita consumption rates in the world. Population growth here has a greater impact than in other countries. Unsustainably-high levels of legal and illegal immigration undercut any good-faith effort to reduce overall consumption and emissions.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency implements a wide array of programs and laws designed to protect our nation's environment. In addition, the Biden administration has adopted two ambitious goals — Both of which are scheduled to be met in just seven years — by the Year 2030.
- protect 30% of America's lands (and oceans), and
- cut domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 50-52% below 2005 levels.
Unfortunately, these goals were developed with a total disregard for America's soaring immigration-driven population growth. How can our nation reduce its resource consumption while millions of additional consumers are sprawling across America every year? Population growth typically overwhelms any resource savings from protection programs. Examples of environmental problems growing worse despite conservation/mitigation efforts include urban sprawl, biodiversity loss, solid waste generation, light pollution to our night skies, loss of farmland soil, and nutrient loading to coastal waters.
There are bills in Congress right now that could make a difference.
H.R. 29 would remove the incentives and expectations for coming to America without authorization, and would be the first step towards stabilizing the border.
H.R. 319 & S. 156 would mandate E-Verify and remove the illegal-jobs incentive that drives millions to put their lives into the hands of human smugglers.
Although reducing resource demands can be beneficial for resource management, population growth is the "great multiplier" that drives environmental degradation. Unfortunately, the U.S. has one of the world's highest rates of consumption per capita, and our government is magnifying its environmental impact by annually importing millions of "capita."
JEREMY BECK is a V.P., Deputy Director for NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Feb 27th 2023 @ 11:02am EST