According to Census Bureau estimates, the population of the United States will reach 404 million by the year 2060 – an increase primarily driven by the 1.5 million illegal and legal immigrants entering the nation annually.
Currently, there are 326 million people residing in the U.S., so immigration alone will be responsible for an additional 78 million people over the course of just 40 years, according to Pew Research.
Growth of the population at those levels are certain to impact both the quality of life for average Americans and the sustainability of the environment. The threat of overpopulation is not to our economic health, but also to the present and future quality of life and environmental sustainability.
The progress the nation has made toward increased conservation and fuel and energy efficiency will continue to be eroded unless the U.S. acts to limit continued, unrestrained immigration-driven population growth.
The evidence our population is already overburdened is obvious to the naked eye.
- Loss of prime farmland
- Rising housing and transportation costs
- Urban sprawl
- Crumbling infrastructure, increased pollution and water shortages.
We must restore the balance.
Overpopulation Impacts Urban and Rural Areas
Since 1980, the amount of land farmed or grazed in the U.S. has declined 13 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Replacing the arable farmland are housing subdivisions, large shopping centers and additional roads needed to serve commuters.
Unrestrained population growth drives demand for resources, including water, energy and food, and increases our ecological footprint. The increased consumption of land and energy pose a long-term threat to our habitat, wildlife, as well as the quality of our air and water.
In order to absorb an unabated influx of new residents, urban centers are expanding every day into the suburbs, which means new road construction through residential neighborhoods. Building new roads results in more pollution and leads to the erosion of home values and communities.
A Predictable Crisis
The rapid change in population did not occur overnight. It was predictable – as are future growth trends.
In 1965, one of the oldest and most influential environmental groups, the Sierra Club, was speaking out about the need to limit environmental harm by limiting population growth and immigration. In its 1979 publication Handbook on Population Projections, the Club noted that “for almost fifteen years, the Sierra Club has acknowledged that population growth is the cause of all environmental problems.”
Two decades later, the relationship between a stable population and sustainable development remained a core principle of environmentalists and government scientists.
In 1996, President Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development recognized the declared the need to “move toward stabilization of the U.S. population.” And their message was carried forth by prominent scientists who issued a call for a response to our rising population just a decade ago.
“The combination of climate change and 9 billion people to me is one that is just fraught with potential catastrophes,” said John Harte, a UC Berkeley ecosystem scientist.
In the late 1990s, it was part of the Wilderness Society Population Policy to “bring population levels to ecologically sustainable levels, both birth rates and immigration rates needs to be reduced.”
But today the once-vocal activists in the environmental movement have been silenced by political influences and self-interest. The once-principled organizations are shadows of their former selves and now shift to meet the whims of special interest groups and lobbyists.
FAIR Will Stay the Course
Environmentalists may have chosen their path, but FAIR will not stray from our mission to preserve the future of America through stabilization of our population and sensible immigration reform.
Now more than ever, we need to speak up and speak out. We must act now. Join our mission now!