Deputy Director’s Corner

Recently, one of our most loyal NPG supporters sent me a link to this article, which appeared in the Star Tribune:  “Minnesota’s Threatened Rivers.”  The story, written by Josephine Marcotty, opens with the statement:  “The greatest river in North America begins in Minnesota.  But our pristine stretch of the Mississippi faces mounting environmental threats.”  In her powerful article, Marcotty outlines some of the dangerous environmental damage being done to the mighty Mississippi. 

She notes:  “In the last five years, the Upper Mississippi watershed has lost about 400 square miles of forests, marshes and grasslands – natural features that cleanse and refresh its water – to agriculture and urban development.  That… represents the second fastest rate of land conversion in the country, according to one national study.  …At this rate, conservationists warn, the Upper Mississippi – a recreational jewel and the source of drinking water for millions of Minnesotans – could become just another polluted river.”

Certainly, it is critical that the mainstream media highlight this kind of environmental threat.  Without widespread public attention, the “Green” conservation movement would never have become as large or as powerful as it is today.  However, as our dedicated NPG friend so astutely noted: 

“The link to population growth is tangentially made, just not explicitly.  It needs to be.”

This isn’t the first time U.S. population growth has jeopardized or polluted water supplies.  Back in 2014, NPG reported on an outbreak of the toxin “microcystin” caused the Mayor of Toledo, OH to place a ban on the tap water – impacting the daily lives of up to 400,000 residents.  Our article highlighted the link between overpopulation and water problems:  “With increased population numbers, we see increased consumption – regardless of conservation measures – and increased pollution.  …With a growing population, agricultural activity grows to meet the rising demand…  It’s a vicious cycle, and it’s one of our own making.”

NPG also kept you informed on this summer’s water crisis in Flint, Michigan.  As we explained:  “In Flint, the tap water crisis was brought about when the city needed to install new water pipes – a necessity due to aging infrastructure and the growing demands of its population.”  In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers issued the U.S. infrastructure a grade of D, stating:  “much of our drinking water infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life.”  


With a major election just a week away – and a new President and Congress who will make major population and immigration decisions – there is much at stake for our nation’s future!  Whomever is elected to the White House and Capitol Hill, our nation urgently needs reasonable, responsible policies which work to slow, halt, and eventually reverse U.S. population growth.  Our nation’s environment, economy, natural resources, infrastructure – our very quality of life – depend on a much smaller, truly sustainable population size.

This is why it is so critical that NPG -and our allies like you – continue our work to slow, halt, and eventually reverse our nation’s population growth.