Get ready for Monbiot Day! November 15 th
You’re the culprit. Unfolding collapse is down to you. Forget population overshoot. You’re consuming too much. Own it!
You’re the culprit. Unfolding collapse is down to you. Forget population overshoot. You’re consuming too much. Own it!
What's wrong with the Canadian Environmental Movement? Why don't Canadian environmental organisations protest about the huge impact of successive government's policies to promote mass immigration to Canada? The six million more people imported to Canada since 1991 would account for four times as much GHG emissions as the Alberta tar sands project. Overpopulation is the number one issue that multiplies every other impact. Why is this message of the original promoter of Earth Day forgotten today?
Questions for the environmental movement on Earth Day: Do you think adding these many people (250,000+) to Canada every year has no impact on the environment? Is that why you remain silent about it? Or is the money you get from corporations like RBC, TD Bank and the Van City mortgage empire (the latter two, donors to the BC Sierra Club)? More people, more home building, more loans, more cheap labour!
And the real influx is much higher than this, including those here on "temporary" visas who forget to leave. Real figure: somewhere between 4-500,000 per year. That is one Mississauga worth of consumers added to our numbers each year, year after year after year. Mind-boggling.
1991 was the year that the Kyoto accord was signed. It was also the year that Brian Mulroney and his Immigration Minister, Barbara McDougall, began the era of hyper-immigration so that, according to McDougall's reasoning, the Conservatives could lure ethnic voters away from the Liberal Party (Hey, it finally worked!). Since then, Canada has gained more than 6 million extra people that otherwise would not be here. Those six million people have been responsible for FOUR times as much GHG emissions as the Alberta tar sands project and FOUR times as much land despoilation. Not boreal forest, but largely prime Class 1 farmland. Mass immigration has been the biggest ecological disaster of the last twenty years of Canadian history. More than any pipeline, more than any mining project, and certainly more than our nuclear industry, the most inflated of all boogeymen on the landscape. Mass immigration is definitely not, as Elizabeth May said, a 'trivial' issue.
This is about immigration, not immigrants. "While immigrants did not invent our profligate lifestyle, they nevertheless aspire to it, as our parents, grandparents or great grandparents once did in coming here. Improving one’s lot is, after all, is the major and fully understandable motive for those who choose to settle here. The point is not to blame immigrants but to cite immigration as the major driver of population growth, which, contrary to green perceptions, has a demonstrably negative impact on our environment. " http://candobetter.net/node/2254 Each of us are part of the problem, but increasing our numbers cannot be a solution. In fact, radically reducing our existing population level is essential to our survival. Ask the scientists. Ask Canadian scientists like Dr. Michael Healey, or Dr. David Schindler, or Dr. David Hughes of Cortes Island. We should aim for a national population level of half, or less than half, of what we presently have. We must return immigration intakes to sane levels, stop rewarding people for having children, encourage adoption and discourage IVF treatments. Instead, we are growing leaps and bounds while the environmental movement stands mute.
A second question therefore arises. Why hasn't the environmental movement demanded an environmental review panel process for the policy of mass immigration? Why are there not people lined up at the microphone in hearings across the country demanding that an environmental assessment be done for a policy that has made Canada the leader in population growth among G8 countries? Why? Why? Why?
Is it political correctness? Cowardice? Wilful blindness? Stupidity? Or a mercenary quest to keep corporate funding, funding which Big Green Inc. is careful to try to hide from its grassroots membership? Why do the members of these corrupt behemoths lack the diligence and the integrity to scrutinize the books of their beloved green champions and ask the appropriate questions? Question like "Why is my organization accepting money from big corporations and big banks? What do we have do in return for that money? What does RBC, the TD Bank and Encana Corp, for example, want from Big Green? Why is the grass roots membership content to rely upon the filtered information of their trusted Club representatives rather than do their own research? How can they remain ignorant of the foundational formula of the environmental movement, the IPAT equation?
April 22, 2013
Earth Day Founder Advocated That U.S. Dramatically Cut Immigration and Stabilize Its Population
We make eight key points about Earth Day, 2013 :
(1) Earth Day was founded by the late Gaylord Nelson in 1970. Nelson was a U.S. Democratic Senator and Wisconsin Governor.
(2) A giant among environmentalists, Nelson advocated that in order for the U.S. to protect its environment, it had to dramatically cut legal immigration, enforce its laws to stop illegal immigration, and stabilize the U.S. population.
(3) He was the author of the U.S. Wilderness Act, numerous other environmental bills, and an inspiration for many more. He was a forceful leader in attempting to convince environmental organizations that they could never achieve their long-term goals unless the US achieved population stabilization through immigration reduction.
(4) On Earth Day’s 30th anniversary in 2000, Nelson said : “Population, global warming and sustainability would be my suggestions for the three most urgent environmental challenges…. Stabilizing U.S. population is a challenge that could be resolved in a relatively short period resulting in significant economic and environmental benefits. At the current rate of population growth, the population of the US will (rise)… to some 530 million within the next 65 to 70 years. If that happens, the negative consequences will be substantial if not, indeed, disastrous. To stabilize our population would require a dramatic reduction in our immigration rate….
(5) “The hard fact is that while the population is booming here and round the world, the resource base that sustains the economy is rapidly dwindling. It is not just a problem in faraway lands, it is an urgent, indeed, a critical problem here at home right now. We are talking about deforestation, aquifer depletion, air pollution, water pollution, and depletion of fisheries, urbanization of farmland, soil erosion and much more…
(6) “The bigger the population gets, the more serious the problems become…. We have to address the population issue. The United Nations, with the US supporting it, took the position in Cairo in 1994 that every country was responsible for stabilizing its own population. It can be done. But in this country, it’s phony to say ‘I’m for the environment but not for limiting immigration.’ “
(7) To those economists whose only concern is maximizing GDP, thereby disregarding environmental concerns, Nelson would thunder that, “These people refuse to recognize that the economy is the wholly owned subsidiary of the environment.” If the environment collapses, so will the economy which depends on it.
(8) Gaylord Nelson's name is largely ignored and his message has been downplayed and betrayed by most environmental organizations, our media and our governments. To many of these people, environmentalism has been trivialized to recycling toilet paper rolls while the roof of the world falls on their heads.
April 22, 2013
Living smaller can’t offset an unsustainable population that’s growing bigger.
There are many problems such as climate change, famine, ethnic strife, women’s rights, inaccessible health care and education, which command more attention than the underlying forces which drive them. However, if those underlying forces are not addressed, then any solutions to those problems can only be seen as half-solutions, and any focus on them as distractions. If jumping half-way across a chasm doesn’t get you to the other side, it is better to abort the launch and plot another course.
It must be understood that in an economy such as ours, which is so heavily dependent on non-renewable resources, zero-sum game conditions apply, and the decisive factor in determining scarcity is the number of people who are making a claim on that diminishing supply. It is much like a teeter-totter. As the number of people goes up, the amount of resources per person goes down--- except for one thing. Even if the number of people remained the same, the per capita supply on of non-renewable natural resources would continue to diminish---a ‘negative’ sum game condition which would eventually undermine even the most equitable distribution of resources and erupt in lethal conflict. Clearly then, standing pat with a human population level that is already unsustainable is not a solution. Mere population stabilization will not get us to our desired destination. Not by a country mile. The reality is, the scale of overshoot is such that we may have passed several tipping points already, and the planet will not wait for us to conduct modest population reductions at the leisurely pace some would prescribe.
One answer---currently fashionable in affluent societies----is “green living” or living smaller. It is a message that has gained currency even in commercial circles. As Al Gore advised us in his documentary, “The Inconvenient Truth”, if we all resolved to reduce our personal impacts and made more responsible consumer choices, the sum total of our sacrifices would add up to a sustainable society.
Thus many of us, in the developed world, heeding this call for personal responsibility, resolved to conserve and recycle, change to more efficient light bulbs, and drive more fuel-efficient cars, to reduce our personal footprint. Little attention was given, unfortunately, to the number of “feet” that have erased the gains made by this behaviour. As Kate Galbraith reported in the New York Times, if a hypothetical American woman who switches to a more fuel-efficient car, drives less, recycles, installs more efficient light bulbs, replaces her refrigerator and windows with energy-saving models has two kids, “her carbon legacy would eventually rise to nearly 40 times what she had saved by those actions.” (“Having Children Brings High Carbon Impact”, August 7, 2009) She cited a study conducted by Paul Murtaugh and Michael Schlax of Oregon State University that was published in a peer-reviewed journal called “Global Environmental Change19 in 2009 (pp 14-20). Murtaugh, a statistics professor, and Schlax, an oceanic and atmospheric science professor, both at OSU, found that having children greatly swells the acreage of one’s footprint.
“Clearly, the potential savings from reduced reproduction are huge compared to the savings that can be achieved by changes in lifestyle. A woman who adopted the six non-reproductive changes in Table 3(as summarized by Galbraith above) would save about 486 tons of C02 emissions during her lifetime, but if she were to have two children, this would eventually add 40 times that amount of C02 (18,882 tons) to the earth’s atmosphere.” (p. 18)
In other words, not having a child dwarfs all other green “lifeway” shifts. They added that using the “constant” emissions scenario between more pessimistic and more optimistic projections of future C02 emissions,
“...an extra child born to a woman in the United States ultimately increases her carbon legacy by an amount (9,441 metric tons) that is nearly seven times the analogous quantity for a woman in China (1,384 tons), but because of China’s enormous population size, its total carbon emissions currently exceed those of the United States.”
While acknowledging that “lifestyle changes” are essential, they emphasize that they “must propagate through future generations to be effective and...enormous benefits can be gained by immediate changes in reproductive behaviour. They conclude that “ignoring the consequences of reproduction can lead to serious under-estimation of an individual’s long-term impact on the global environment.”
In the so-called “IPAT” equation, the foundational formula of the environmental movement, where “I” (environmental impact) equals “P” (the population level) times “A” (or per capita consumption) times “T” ( for technological inputs), the conventional wisdom is that the “P” factor carries equal weight with the “A” factor. The Murtaugh/Schlax study, however, demonstrates that “P”, our population level, is by far the decisive variable. Murtaugh even noted that their calculations are “relevant to other environmental impacts beside carbon emissions-for example, the consumption of fresh water, which many feel is already in short supply." The fact is, climate change is not the only metric of overshoot, nor necessarily the most urgent. Our crushing population level drives and magnifies every one of the multitude of synergistic disasters that are building into “the perfect storm”. This is the real “inconvenient truth” that the environmental establishment is wilfully ignorant of. More than that, some so-called environmentalists like the “Hartmannites” and the “Eco-socialists” have not only downplayed the role of population in environmental degradation but denied it. This is a sin of omission and denial of even greater scale than that of the climate sceptics they revile. And it is a sin that cannot be expiated simply by acts of self-righteous self-abnegation, frugality or “green living.”
And as population expert Dr. Jack Alpert remarked,
“...we do not know if these ‘responsible’, ‘green’ behaviors, when combined with all our other behaviors, actually reduce our footprint. 3000 miles of airplane travel per seat consumes the petrol an efficient car consumes in 4 months. Take three or four family members on the plane and your family’s footprint is the same as if you drove an extra car. Take three family trips a year and your family burns enough petrol to run four cars. If we do not increase the size of our homes or take more energy intensive vacations, and we take aggressive conservation measures, we can indeed reduce our personal footprint---by a few percent. However, if we eat a more healthful diet and exercise, and it extends our life by that same percentage – how then would we reduce our footprint at all? If we capped the consumption of all individuals; if each person in the world, accepted ‘middle American’ limits to his or her consumptive practices; if we limited the number of children so global population stopped growing; if we changed to a coal economy and sequestered all the carbon dioxide, total human footprint would still increase by a factor of four to allow the "have-nots’" consumption to catch up with that of middle class "haves". We would empty our reservoirs, diminish our forests and fisheries, and poison and destroy our environment 4 times faster than we are today.”
It should become apparent that curbing personal consumption will not prevent rapidly expanding scarcity, dislocation and, conflict and an ensuing dark age. We must reduce the human population as quickly and radically as we can to preserve the human experiment by allowing human ingenuity the time it needs to buy the time we need to achieve a more graceful transition to our ultimate destination. To believe that we can jump across the chasm to a sustainable existence without rapid population decline is more than a leap of faith. It is suicidal.
( Environmental impact= Population level times Affluence or per capita consumption x Technology)
I came upon an orchestration, the environmental movement, and all the musicians were playing violins to the tune of “Overconsumption, overconsumption, overconsumption.” They refused to play any other tune or use any other instrument to compliment that narrow repertoire. Apparently some corporate donors were paying them to be a one-trick pony.
So I immediately resolved to sound out the missing tune that would make an effective chorus. It would be “overpopulation, overpopulation, overpopulation”, and I would use my voice to sing that message loudly because, frankly, I can’t afford or take the time to learn to play another instrument. As soon as the Environmental Establishment Orchestra includes my tune in their program, and gives it the prominence it deserves, I will stop singing solo and apply to join them. They after all have the resources to go on the road with their act, while I can only sing in the shower or yell out the lyrics on the Internet.
But until that day, I will specialize in the one half of the equation, population level, without which there can be no comprehensive understanding of our environmental predicament. I will play left wing on a hockey team overstocked with centre forwards and right wingers. Under new management and coaching, perhaps my team, the “IPATs, will demand all-around players—“two way” players who can play the complete game. Like golfers who don’t try to win the match with “hole-in-one” strokes.
It is people who consume, not ghosts. Reduce their numbers and each can consume more sustainably if they recognize their limits and are rewarded for obeying them
Population growth is the great multiplier of evils. Solve it and so many other problems of secondary concern become easier to solve. And it is much easier to solve alone than challenging popular consumptive habits. Many more people can be reconciled to lower fertility and lower immigration than are willing to see their standard of living drop to comply with lower consumption targets. The vast majority of Swedes, the world’s most affluent nation, are wanting to see immigration cut and a low birth rate persist, rather than sacrifice their standard of living. In 2006 the Dyskos poll revealed that 60% of them were not willing to make any material sacrifices to fight global warming. The working class majority there and here, are skeptical and intolerant of environmentalism that speaks with a middle class voice, and uses the same moralizing sermon that that voice gave them in the 1930s and other challenging times. The voice that cried “Hold the line on inflation” , or “suck it up for the boss”. Sermons given by preachers who preached chastity then drove off in a limousine to the whore house. Green yuppies won’t impress the working poor by putting solar panels on their 4000 square foot waterfront homes and taking their hybrid cars to the airport for their annual overseas trips to Mexico or Bali. If you never had to drive a “beater” to keep food on the table you have no moral authority to prescribe a carbon tax or a Prius. And no credibility if you have sired more than two children.
“Too many people consuming too much. consumption. Neglect one factor and you neglect both. You are in denial.” But “too many people” is the Achilles heel of growthism, and the one that deserves priority attention.