EDITOR'S NOTE: NumbersUSA's call for replacement-level immigration (a reduction in annual numbers by perhaps 80%) has just received a huge boost of validity in a new book -- Man Swarm and the Killing of Wildlife -- by Dave Foreman.
Over the last four decades, few people have been more true and highly-publicized in their championing of the U.S. environment than Foreman. Essentially, he concludes that wildlife in the U.S. face a dismal future without deep cuts in immigration.
Below, you will find a review of the book written by environmental scientist Leon Kolankiewicz who says that Foreman:
". . . lends his own vigorous voice – and his barbed pen – on behalf of the imperiled and voiceless fellow creatures with which we share our nation and our planet. . . . Foreman both instructs us as to why ever more people means ever less wildlife, and he assails spineless or clueless environmentalists for not recognizing reality and for not doing anything about it.
"Few living environmental activists, conservation biologists, or environmental historians can match the combined breadth and depth of Dave Foreman’s knowledge of both ecological science and recent and past conservation history. And still fewer writers/activists have actually contributed to making and shaping recent environmental history to the extent he has."
For anybody who is an environmentalist -- or who knows an environmentalist -- there is much in this book worth committing to memory.
In New Book, Prominent Conservationist Urges Immigration Reductions, Takes Environmentalists to Task for Turning their Backs on U.S. Overpopulation
By Leon Kolankiewicz
How far conservationists and environmentalists have fallen from what now seem to me to be the Golden Years of the 1960s and 1970s. No wonder I’m such an old sorehead.
-- Dave Foreman, Man Swarm and the Killing of Wildlife (Durango, CO: Raven’s Eye Press, 2011; p. 121)
As a founder of Earth First!, The Wildlands Project, and the Rewilding Institute, as well as the author of Confessions of an Eco-Warrior and other books, Dave Foreman is one of America’s most iconic living conservationists. Foreman belongs in an elite outfit we might call the Old Guard Conservationists, including such legends as David Brower (one-time Sierra Club executive director and board member, founder of Friends of the Earth, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Earth Island Institute), Senator Gaylord Nelson (founder of Earth Day, counselor for the Wilderness Society), Captain Paul Watson (founder of Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society), and Stewart Udall (former Interior Secretary in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and author of the conservation classic The Quiet Crisis).
It is no exaggeration that these same individuals helped shape the America we live in today. Our country is a far better place than it might have been without their endeavors, and those of other leaders and their legions of followers. This is because – in spite of the beleaguered condition and troubled future of the American environment – today our country goes to much greater lengths and expense to protect our shared natural heritage than it used to before these heroes began their teach-ins, protests, organizing, lawmaking, lawsuits, newspaper ads, marches, speeches, direct action, books, and civil disobedience. And the beneficiaries of all these efforts, awareness, and funding are our treasured wildlife, endangered species, wilderness, clean air and water, open space, public health, national parks, forests, and fisheries. And of course, the Americans who care about these things.
It is also no exaggeration that the Old Guard Conservationists, those coming of age or already in their prime around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, recognized the role of explosive, unsustainable human population growth in piling ever more pressure on the environment.
The endangered Northern Aplomado Falcon
In contrast, with precious few exceptions, at least in their public postures, contemporary leaders of the politically correct Environmental Establishment either tend to ignore U.S. overpopulation altogether (their preferred strategy), or when pressed, actively dismiss or minimize its role as a causative agent of greater environmental impacts. (At the same time, in a hushed tone or whisper, some may tell you that of course population is a huge issue, but it’s also a radioactive one that they and their organization must avoid at all costs.)
By the Environmental Establishment, I mean the well-funded, well-connected, politically potent, big national environmental groups. I mean advocacy groups such as the Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, Greenpeace, Wilderness Society, Environmental Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, League of Conservation Voters, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Union of Concerned Scientists. I also mean federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and countless state counterparts.
In his new book, Man Swarm and the Killing of Wildlife, Dave Foreman lends his own vigorous voice – and his barbed pen – on behalf of the imperiled and voiceless fellow creatures with Refuge in New Mexico, with the Rio Grande wildeors which we share our nation and our planet. These critters, or visible as Foreman calls them in Old English, cannot vote, contribute to political campaigns, or purchase products, so unless pressed, neither politicians nor businessmen will pay them any heed. Foreman both instructs us as to why ever more people means ever less wildlife, and he assails spineless or clueless environmentalists for not recognizing reality and for not doing anything about it.
The Chupadera Wilderness of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico
Few living environmental activists, conservation biologists, or environmental historians can match the combined breadth and depth of Dave Foreman’s knowledge of both ecological science and recent and past conservation history. And still fewer writers/activists have actually contributed to making and shaping recent environmental history to the extent he has.
Even as Foreman treats all of the grim statistics about approaching mass extinctions and the like with all of the gravity – and deep dismay – they deserve, he is still a pleasure to read. He has an avuncular, self-deprecating manner; indeed, the Rewilding Institute distributes a periodic column to his supporters called “Uncle Dave Foreman’s Around the Campfire.” In Man Swarm, he excoriates with equal relish the fatuous cornucopians of both Left and Right political persuasions who deny overpopulation.
Representing the Right, the late Professor Julian Simon, the “guru of growth,” who declared in 1994:
We now have in our hands – in our libraries, really – the technology to feed, clothe, and supply energy to an ever-growing population for the next 7 billion years.
Foreman on Simon’s feckless and reckless claim: “University of Colorado physics professor emeritus Al Bartlett writes that some of his friends quizzed Julian Simon after his seven-billion year wisecrack and Simon backtracked that he meant only seven million years. (Be glad this guy wasn’t doing your taxes!)”
Standing in for leftie cornucopians, former socialist presidential candidate, anti-pollution crusader and The Closing Circle author Barry Commoner, who wrote:
It is a totally spurious idea to claim that rising population anywhere in the world is responsible for the deteriorating environment.
Foreman correctly observes that when it comes to their views on human growth without limit, these opposite ends of the political spectrum – both hard-core Right and Left, Libertarianism and Marxism – are remarkably similar. “They both see Earth as an overflowing warehouse for industrial civilization, a warehouse that is never empty,” Foreman writes.
The endangered jaguar
Foreman wields his cudgel more for the left-wingers, however, since they have been far more influential in pulling their fellow travelers in the environmental community away from the population stabilization cause – under threat of shunning or excommunication. And Foreman acknowledges forthrightly that the main reason for this is what he calls the “Bugbear of Immigration:”
Conservationists and others won’t work on growth in the United States until we deal forthrightly with immigration. We can’t do that until we make a new playing field where we can talk about immigration without being damned to hell by erstwhile friends who say we are anti-immigrant.
…unless we cap immigration to the United States, we cannot keep from doubling or nearly tripling today’s U.S. population by 2100. You might not like this hand, but it is the hand we are dealing ourselves.
If other American conservation leaders had the courage, common sense, and plain speech of Dave Foreman instead of the cunning and deceit purveyed by the counselor Wormtongue in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, America’s wildlife and wild places would stand a much better chance of surviving this hard new century.
Foreman goes on to offer his own wide-ranging recommendations on how to cap immigration to the U.S., some of which may strike NumbersUSA supporters as familiar, and others as original, radical, or unrealistic. But they represent fresh, outside-the-box thinking on the immigration issue by a free-thinking and innovative conservation ally.
Not content to lament, and definitely not a passive prisoner of folly, fatalism, and futility, Foreman closes Man Swarm, with a 32-page chapter called, “What Do We Do?” Here he furnishes an even wider-ranging array of actions that disturbed conservationists can take, from the personal to the political.
I hope I’ve whetted your appetite for this book – it behooves you to buy it, read it, digest it…and act.
And from Uncle Dave Foreman’s Man Swarm, the final word:
Those environmentalists, who think we can double or triple U.S. population without wiping out wildlife and scalping our last wildernesses, are living in a fool’s paradise – not in the real world where we either will or will not keep the other Earthlings [wildlife] hale and hearty in our shared neighborhoods.
Leon Kolankiewicz is a Wildlife Biologist and Environmental Planner, Advisor to NumbersUSA
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Updated: Mon, May 15th 2017 @ 4:20pm EDT