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Ditch the political correctness 

Quadra Island, British Columbia

In the New Times article, “What’s behind those ads?” (Oct. 30) Colin Rigley, using two proxies, takes a run at a commercial aired by the Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS). The critics he cites reprise the tired old “greening of hate” formula served up by the Carl Pope crew nearly a decade ago to squash efforts by the Sierra Club grass roots to restore sanity and tradition to America’s flagship environmental organization.

Once upon a time an equation was the foundation of environmental thinking in America (and elsewhere). It reasoned that environmental impact (I) equaled (P, or population level) times (A affluence, or per- capita consumption if you like) times (T for technology).

But come the mid-80s, population discreetly vanished from the equation, thus making nonsense out of a comprehensive understanding of environmental degradation. What sense does it make if environmentalists only key on reducing over-consumption and ignore overpopulation; if they insist, for example, on cutting per-capita energy consumption in half, while ignoring the fact that the population will double?

Why the population myopia? In a word, political correctness. Since the mid-80s, human rights have become the over-riding obsession—the I-word is an ugly taboo. But omelets cannot be made without cracking eggs. To be anti-immigration is not necessarily to be anti-immigrant, any more than a restaurant owner who bars the door to more customers after his tables are all taken is anti-customer.

Mike Latner of Cal Poly states that immigrant-caused global-warming is an odd linkage, a logical fallacy, and an unprecedented argument. Latner said the root problem is America’s CO2 emissions. Which, I suppose, have nothing to do with the more than 302 million people living there. Can he name a single jurisdiction anywhere that has a growing population but has stopped its GHG emission growth?

Rigley’s article posed the question: What’s behind the (CAPS) ads? Some better questions would be supplementary follow-ups. Questions like: Who’s behind the Sierra Club and what conditions did billionaire David Gelbaum set for his $100 million donation?

Perhaps it is time to turn the tables on Southern Poverty Law Center and the critics of immigration reform and population stabilization movements like CAPS. Perhaps it is time to question their liberal McCarthyism, to question their motivations. Are they motivated by hate? Do they support porous borders and mass immigration because they hate the American working class? So much so that they stood by and watched it lose 5 million jobs under the Bush administration to outsourcing and displacement from the low-wage competition of immigrants who drive down the wages of Americans? Do they hate agricultural self-sufficiency, American biodiversity, and ecological sustainability?

What matters is not intentions or motivations but numbers. Numbers matter. Get CAPS off the psychiatrist’s couch and get out your calculator and make your computations: number of people, their per-capita consumption. Then figure out what their habitat can tolerate and what the number of consumers consuming at what level of consumption can live there sustainably. Presto. There is your population policy, of which immigration policy is a key part.

Whether the Star Spangled Banner is eventually sung in Spanish or English is not so vitally important as that it is sung by substantially fewer Americans 50 years from now than are alive today.

-- Tim Murray - Vice President, Biodiversity First

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