NPG JOURNAL – Volume 8, Number 5
WILL 2015 BE A PERILOUS YEAR FOR AMERICA’S POPULATION?
As the ball fell in New York’s Times Square to welcome 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that America’s population reached 320,090,857.
That’s bad news for all Americans who understand that an ever-increasing population will not – and cannot – lead to a better, stronger nation.
Census estimates our nation’s population growth by calculating the following current statistics: one birth every 8 seconds; one death every 12 seconds; and one international immigrant (net) every 33 seconds.
The result is that America adds one person every 16 seconds, or just under 4 people per minute. That’s an average of 5,400 new people per day… 162,000 per month… nearly 2 million per year.
Sadly, far too many Americans shirk off these perilous numbers – and actually cheer on U.S. population growth. For decades, well into the 20th century, an ever-rising population was looked at as a symbol of America’s strength. Unfortunately, when our nation rapidly grew past 150 million people around 1950, we left the concept of a sustainable America behind. We’re now well beyond the tipping point. More and more people only mean more social, economic and environmental problems for our nation.
As the issue of immigration is poised to take center stage in the coming months, NPG is going to be working diligently. We must make sure that the dangers of U.S. population growth are very much at the center of Congressional debates.
There is little question that as 2015 progresses, many in the national media will be pushing for Congress to pass President Obama’s radical new immigration measures. And Congress will spend months debating amnesty… funding for the Department of Homeland Security… a gamut of various immigration proposals.
Throughout 2015, NPG will be there to constantly and forcefully remind our elected leaders about the serious consequences of immigration policies that fast-track our nation’s population growth. This national debate is a unique opportunity to make all Americans aware of the critical NPG message: if we do not act now to slow, halt, and eventually reverse U.S. population growth, it will severely cripple our nation – and destroy any chances for a decent quality of life for future generations.
In all, the New Year could turn out to be very dangerous for America if Congress goes down the wrong path on immigration. Please continue to stand with NPG and take an activist role – help us ensure our vital message is heard and heeded, both in Congress and across the nation.
Remember, America’s population clock is ticking!
THE PRICE OF FRACKING
When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that he was banning the use of High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHF, commonly known as “fracking”) in his state, there were loud protests from citizens in dozens of counties – most of which sit atop the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation, and are in dire need of jobs.
The governor’s action stemmed from the conclusions of a recently completed public health study directed by his state health commissioner, Howard Zucker.
Zucker’s report cited such concerns as environmental pollution, respiratory problems due to air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, induced earthquakes, drinking water quality issues, surface water contamination, and community impacts such as increased noise, traffic, and stress on existing infrastructure.
Yet, while New York’s fracking ban has been condemned by those who sought to tap into the nation’s oil and gas boom, the fact is that many towns and cities may have dodged a very costly bullet.
A mid-December article in the Ravalli Republic of eastern Montana tells the tale of fracking’s woes. According to the article, communities in the Big Sky state “are growing so quickly they can’t keep up with basic infrastructure needs such as water and sewage treatment facilities, housing, and roads and bridges.” Also, fast-growing populations in areas that saw little growth for decades is putting a lot of pressure on law enforcement, health services, and schools.
The cost to upgrade local facilities – in an effort to accommodate the explosive growth fracking has fostered – runs into tens of millions of dollars. Local officials are at a loss to come up with the money, and are turning to the state for relief. However, the dollars are not coming as fast as they need them.
Adding to their problems is the fact that state legislators in Helena are not jumping at the chance to divert valuable tax dollars to the boom towns at the expense of other communities. State House Minority Leader Chuck Hunter (D-Helena) is quoted as saying: “Rather than just being bailed out by the rest of the state, [eastern Montana towns] need to recognize that they need to be part of the solution locally.”
NPG has long held that there is dire need for further research on the true impacts of fracking. Not only is it environmentally hazardous, but the population surge it often causes is damaging our nation’s communities. We support Mr. Zucker’s conclusion: “Until the science provides sufficient information to determine the level of risk to public health from HVHF… and whether the risks can be adequately managed, DOH recommends that HVHF should not proceed in New York State.” To NPG, we feel this finding should be the policy of all U.S. states. We encourage all concerned citizens to contact their elected officials – on the national, state, and local levels – and ask them to research a similar moratorium on fracking!
For more information on fracking, see Lindsey Grant’s NPG Forum Paper: Is Fracking an Answer? To What?
DEPLETING OUR FISH STOCK: TOO MUCH, TOO FAST
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently shut down cod fishing in the Gulf of Maine. The fish stocks are at perilously low levels, and it is hoped a season or two of no fishing will bring about a rebound.
Will it happen?
A look at the critical issue of present fishery resources in the western Atlantic was the subject of a valuable op-ed piece by W. Jeffrey Bolster in The New York Times on January 1st. In his short analysis titled “Where Have All the Cod Gone?” Bolster takes us through a quick history of the sporadic ups and downs of fish populations.
What began in the 18th century as men fishing from small boats has developed into massive overfishing, with factory-equipped freezer trawlers the size of ocean liners scooping up ever-larger catches in the 21st century. Mr. Bolster notes: “The fishery resources of the western Atlantic once seemed virtually limitless, with fish supposedly as numerous as grains of sand in the Sahara. And yet the current emergency effort to restore cod populations is simply the latest chapter in a 150-year saga in which fisherman, scientists, industrialists and politicians have consistently confronted emptier nets and fewer fish.”
The author holds out hope that the recent ban by NOAA will bring some relief and restoration to this critical problem. However, he notes: “The Gulf of Maine cod stocks today are probably only a fraction of 1 percent of what they were during George Washington’s presidency.”
Bolster concludes with a message that solidly reflects NPG’s concerns about the failure of our nation to look ahead. He states: “The fisheries story, however, also provides a heading into the future, revealing as it does the tragic consequences of decision makers’ unwillingness to steer a precautionary course in the face of environmental uncertainties. At every step of the way, decisions could have been made to exploit fish stocks more sustainably. That’s a tale worth pondering.”
“It is the same old story. The buffalo is gone; the whale is disappearing; the seal fishery is threatened with destruction. Fish need protection.”
– Edwin W. Gould
Maine Fishery Commissioner, 189
“Let every individual and institution now think and act as a responsible trustee of Earth, seeking choices in ecology, economics and ethics that will provide a sustainable future, eliminate pollution, poverty and violence, awaken the wonder of life and foster peaceful progress in the human adventure.
– John McConnell
Founder of International Earth Day
“We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.”
– Jimmy Carter