EARTH DAY: Population growth is the overwhelming, and overlooked, problem
Published on April 11th, 2011
• Santa Barbara – Saturday, April 16 in Alameda Park
• San Diego – Sunday, April 17 in Balboa Park
Santa Barbara, CA – At the first Earth Day in 1970, millions of Americans celebrated nature while simultaneously drawing attention to our environmental ills and potential solutions. Conservationists across the country noted that “every environmental problem is a population problem.”
Today, most environmental groups are too politically timid to confront the issue, but Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), a Santa Barbara-based environmental group focuses on this problem.
“Continuing population growth is our most serious environmental problem. Loss of open space, endless sprawl, air and water pollution—these are symptoms of the problem. Habitat loss due to population growth is by far the greatest threat to wildlife,” said Marilyn DeYoung, Chairman of the Board of CAPS, who served on the President’s Commission on Population Growth and the American Future from 1970 – 1972.
Since the first Earth Day, California’s population has doubled to its current level of 39 million—an increase equivalent to adding the entire populations of Ireland, Norway, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua to the state. This rapid population growth has imperiled California’s extraordinary biodiversity and has resulted in the listing of 157 animals as threatened or endangered. Over one-fourth of California’s plants are extinct, rare, endangered, or threatened. The U.S. population has also grown, from 203 million in 1970 to 311 million, and is projected to soar to over half a billion by the century’s end. However, unlike the situation in 1970, two-thirds of today’s U.S. population growth is from immigration, according to the Census Bureau.
“Now that most growth in America stems from immigration, environmental groups are reluctant to talk about the problem. Political correctness has become more important than environmental protection. We deeply miss past environmental leaders who had the courage to put the environment first and politics second,” DeYoung stated.
“The population problem is the worst problem we’ve got. If we don’t solve that, we’ll solve nothing. Immigration and over immigration is an important part of that,” noted the late David Brower, a CAPS Advisory Board member and the pre-eminent environmentalist of his time. In fact, the late Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, who founded Earth Day, stated, “In this country, it’s phony to say ‘I’m for the environment but not for limiting immigration’. It’s just a fact that we can’t take all the people who want to come here.”
CAPS is a non partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1986 and working to preserve California’s future through the stabilization of our state’s human population. Since nearly all of California’s runaway population growth comes from immigration, CAPS focuses largely on this issue: sponsoring public and media awareness campaigns, working with lawmakers to promote more responsible policies, maintaining a growing network of member-activists, and conducting vital research. www.CAPSweb.org