The People Problem: There’s too many.

I pulled this stuff from a long article on overpopulation but you should probably read the whole article. It’s a big reason why I’m so against illegal immigration and why I feel legal immigration should be brought down to around 200,000.

“I don’t think most people understand where we’re headed.” - Gaylord Nelson in 1994, on the perils of overpopulation

“He’d say, ‘Imagine what that will be like. We’re not just talking about twice as many people, we’re talking about twice as many everything. Twice as many highways and twice as many schools. Twice as many parking lots and twice as many hospitals.

“And then he’d ask, ‘If that happens, what will the quality of life be like for the people living here?’ ”


People avoid the debate because to talk about overpopulation means confronting such hot-button issues as birth control and family planning - which conservatives and most religious groups adamantly oppose.

And if you talk about controlling the mushrooming U.S. population, he says, it means you must address the issue of immigration, which now accounts for about one-third of the 3.2 million people our country adds every year. Then you will be labeled a racist.

In 1960, for example, the global population was 3 billion. In 1999 - just 33 years later - it had doubled to 6 billion.

Although the rate has slowed in recent years - largely because Canada, Australia, Japan and Western Europe have stabilized their growth - world population is still expected to hit 9 billion by 2054, with 90 percent of the growth occurring in Africa, Asia and Latin America, he says.

That growth will cause enormous strains on our natural resources, particularly the world’s fast-dwindling supply of fresh water. As it is, an estimated 800 million humans - more than double the U.S. population - are starving or seriously malnourished, says Durham, noting that Niger is the most recent African country facing massive starvation problems, after years of drought.

In addition, an estimated 700 species of plants and animals are endangered from destruction of habitat caused by population growth.

Yes, the birth rate in the United States is at replacement level, or about 2.1 children per woman on average, he says. But we’re still the fastest growing developed country in the world. And if we don’t act now to stabilize our population - currently about 292 million - we could reach 500 million by 2050 and 1 billion by 2100, he says.

And if that doesn’t alarm you, Durham and other population experts say, consider this: If current trends continue, by the year 2020 - or just 15 years from now - the U.S. will add enough new people to create another New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Francisco, Indianapolis, San Jose, Memphis, Washington, Jacksonville, Milwaukee, Boston, Columbus, New Orleans, Cleveland, Denver, Seattle and El Paso.

Dr. Dennis Maki, the esteemed head of infectious diseases at the UW-Madison Medical School, feels so strongly about the threat that he said in an interview with The Capital Times in 2002 that if he could do just one thing to make the world a better place, he’d devise a form of birth control that would make people sterile for about 10 years.

And he said he’d distribute it worldwide - literally drop it from airplanes - so that no children were born in the world for an entire decade.

Have his views changed?

Not one bit, says Maki, adding that he wishes every U.S. citizen could spend a week in rural India or parts of Brazil or sub-Saharan Africa and witness firsthand the suffering that’s a daily fact of life for tens of millions of people.

“Then they’d suddenly realize what the impact of overpopulation is,” he says. “I mean, there’s not enough food, there aren’t the educational resources. And so overpopulation is absolutely the most regressive tax there is on the people who can least afford it: the developing world.

“To me, it’s a great, great tragedy.”

And what’s even harder to bear is that the situation isn’t about to change anytime soon, Maki says - in part, because the Bush administration “doesn’t have any interest in population control for a variety of reasons I think are obvious to most of us.”

Neither, he says, does the Catholic Church, which still has enormous influence in many Third World countries, especially in Latin America.

“I like to think of myself as open-minded and pretty tolerant of things,” Maki says. “But I’ve been profoundly disappointed by the position of the leadership of the Catholic Church on population control, because it creates so much unnecessary misery in the developing world.”

But, like Nelson, Maki believes it’s foolish to think this is just a Third World problem, pointing out that the educational and health care systems in California are already reeling from the massive influx of immigrants over the last two decades.

So does the United States need to curb immigration?

Absolutely, Maki says.

“Anybody who’s had a reasonable education understands this isn’t a racist issue,” he says. “I mean, any Hispanic immigrant realizes that mass immigration will affect the quality of life that their kids and their grandchildren are going to have. They see that, and it’s in their own self-interest to get on the bandwagon for population control.”

If overpopulation is a global problem why is controlling immigration in the United States so crucial?

Because, even if you can’t fix every pothole in the world, you can still fix the one right in front of your house.

One Response to “The People Problem: There’s too many.”

  1. Mark in Mexico Says:

    The last word on Mexico

    Before I start, let me tell you that I live in Mexico. The whys and hows as to my presence here are not too important (I’m not a fugitive from justice). I teach English. That’s about it.

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