As a naïve, youthful world bicycle traveler back in 1984, I toured through China when it opened to international visitors. I fulfilled my teenage dream to walk on the Great Wall of China.
But what really impacted me: wall-to-wall people. Every piece of land bloomed with crops. Every nook and cranny was filled with people. People jammed every city. They overflowed every sector of that ancient land. Today, there are 50-lane expressways; citizens breathe toxic air, and there are horrifically polluted rivers, including the Yangtze.
That one visit changed my life by changing my perceptions concerning the end result of too many people.
At the time of my travel, Dr. Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb described the negative consequences of overpopulation. Today, his view of where we were heading played out on a world scale even more terrifying than when he wrote the book: more than 3 million children die of starvation annually. Nearly 800 million people worldwide – about one in nine – do not have enough food.
Unfortunately, Ehrlich’s detractors probably never visited India or China. Their worldviews stemmed from their limited experiences in America, Canada or Europe. All the while, another 80 million humans, net gain, are added to the planet annually. Even with a one-child policy, China’s population has continued to grow during the last 35 years. Because of “population momentum,” China grows its population by about 8 million each year.
While China’s human numbers explode, quality of life and standard of living for many degrade. China continues building endless concrete jungles for cities, destroying wilderness and adding to wildlife loss, as a toll is taken on the overall ecology as to air, water and soil.
China’s water and energy usage, food consumption and resource depletion are reaching unimaginable levels as the country mechanizes as much as possible in order to grow, following the footsteps of Western countries. But before the middle of this century, China, along with all fossil-fuel driven nations, must contend with the end of oil.
By 2020 the water issue affects 30-40 percent of the world
When you include the agricultural sector with vanishing ground water, a “Perfect Storm” builds throughout China and India.
As to China’s rivers, they run in raw sewage, with hundreds, if not thousands, of chemicals and more toxic waste than anyone comprehends. The Yangtze River dumps massive amounts of lethal waste into the oceans 24/7. It features an astounding 20,000 square mile “dead zone” at its mouth. Marine creatures cannot thrive within those toxic waters. Dozens of such poisoned rivers flow into the ocean from China. Those toxic waters ultimately flow elsewhere, poisoning other marine habitats.
But the Chinese show exceptional intelligence in escaping to first world countries. Today, large numbers of Chinese immigrants have moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. In the U.S., there are Chinese-dominant areas along the West Coast, and chain migration will drive more movement here. China’s people compete to move to Canada, Australia, Europe and America.
The world is experiencing unprecedented human population growth – at a level never seen before. About one billion people are added to the planet every 12 years. By mid-century, if we continue on the current track, expect an estimated 3 billion more – from today’s 7.3 billion to more than 10 billion in 2050. We face tremendous environmental and quality of life impacts and immigration consequences on a scale unknown in all of our history as a species.
If you aren’t yet a member of the CAPS Action Alert Team, please sign up today here to have your voice heard by elected officials about issues related to growth, including the No. 1 driver of growth in the U.S. today, immigration.