By Frosty Wooldridge
Reviewed for Healthy Beginnings By June Milligan, M.Ed., CCHt |
At the current rate of growth, America will add one hundred million Americans in the next three decades. Illegal immigration adds one million per year, and legal immigration adds 1.2 million. The babies born from families who are already here will add up to create the one hundred million increase by 2040. The world population grows by a net gain of 77 million human beings annually; that’s 9,000 newborns per hour over deaths.
America is the third fastest growing country on the planet, behind only India and China. This hyper-population growth affects every part of our environment. For instance, for whatever amount of population increase in your state, a certain amount of farm acreage will have to be destroyed. By 2050, Texas will grow from 21 million to 48 million people, which means millions of acres of land will be taken out of farming for development of homes, malls, schools, parking lots and business parks. Colorado will add 1.5 million by 2022. That means over three million acres will be taken out of agricultural production in that state. We lose four acres a minute, 6,000 acres a day and 2.2 million acres annually to development caused by population growth in the USA.
Adding more people will naturally require more energy to heat and cool homes and businesses, more factories to produce the additional products for sale, more cars to carry us around, so air pollution will increase too. Particulates (tiny pieces of pollution) from cars, power plants and factories, do more than clog your lungs. It has been shown in recent research that air pollution can cause irregular heart rhythms, heart failure and cardiac arrest. If you live in a large city, you smoke the equivalent of one pack of cancer-producing cigarettes every 24 hours, just by breathing the air.
The damage doesn’t stop there. When winds blow the air pollution out of our cities, it falls as acid rain on the land, in our lakes and rivers. It poisons the earth and water. It creates havoc with nitrogen-fixing bacteria in our topsoil. It kills entire fish populations. It kills trees and native vegetation by changing their “ph” balance. And it finds its way to other nations. For instance, China places a new coal-fired power plant on line every two weeks. The resulting air pollution falls on North America in ever increasing amounts.
It takes 12.5 acres of land to support each American. That’s known as the Ecological Footprint for just this country. So, for every additional person, 12.5 acres are removed from the natural setting. It must be paved over, built into suburbs, schools, colleges, fire houses, malls, roads and everything else that sustains our society. So the next 100 million added Americans will wreak havoc on the natural world in an ever more deadly population dance, removing habitat for natural plant and animal life by 1.25 billion lost acres.
The current rate of hyper-population growth around the world will add one thousand cities (of one million people each) in the next 30 years. What will the quality of human life be like then? The author has bicycled over 100,000 miles through six continents. The squalor, desperation, disease and despair he has encountered were horrific. Much of the 21st century urban world squats in squalor, surrounded by pollution, excrement and decay. Nearly half the people in the world don’t have the kind of clean water and sanitation services that were available two thousand years ago to the citizens of ancient Rome. More than a billion people lack access to drinking water, and at least that many have never seen a toilet.
The oceans are not exempt. They have become our dumping ground. We deposit 8,000 pieces of plastic into our oceans and seas every 24 hours. It is estimated that 46,000 pieces of plastic litter float in every square mile of our oceans. A deadly conveyor belt known as the Mississippi River delivers nitrogen-laced, chemically active fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides by the millions of gallons hourly, twenty four hours a day. Latest research shows a 10,000 square mile dead zone, beginning at the mouth of the Mississippi. Humans have demonstrated an unspeakable power to devastate their ecosystems. As a result, hundreds of additional insects, plants and animals become endangered or go extinct every year.
The Amazon, as well as diminishing stretches of jungle in Asia, serves as the planet’s lungs, taking in carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. As we clear-cut these forests, we destroy much of Earth’s ability to provide oxygen for us to breathe, while the carbon dioxide continues to build.
Let’s talk about freedoms. Liberty cannot survive a continuous packing-in of people. As population increases, the value of any one individual decreases. If our numbers continue to rise, on a world with a finite amount of fresh water and land, the future inevitably holds greater restrictions on individual liberty, as well as options.
Many people talk about the environmental devastation by human activity, but very few talk about the reason for that–an earth out of balance because of too many people. No politician will address the issue, as they don’t want to offend even one voter. The issue gets kicked around like a political football as one party blames the other. Religious and cultural mores are off-limits to discuss except privately, or within organizations trying to help the situation, or in books like this, or in college classes. If those who say that the world’s carrying capacity is infinite are correct, and there are enough resources to take care of even more people, then why do over eight million adults and twelve million children starve each year? Something’s wrong with this picture. We see that the world is already past the point of not being able to sustain the masses of humans who exist here now with any semblance of dignity or comfort. What happens to the Earth, as well as to our own freedoms and our opportunity to live a healthy life, when the total population of Earth reaches 12 billion or more?
From space, Earth looks like a beautiful blue gem, marbled with tan deserts, white mountaintops, meandering rivers, green forests and jungles. Many believe Earth is a living entity, balancing itself through necessary changes over eons of time, and has a finite carrying capacity. The old saying, “Don’t mess with Mother Nature” may have some validity here. We hope she doesn’t kick us off before we come to our senses.
Frosty Wooldridge is an environmentalist, mountain climber, triathlete, scuba diver, skier, lecturer, writer and photographer. He bicycled over 100,000 miles on six continents, plus six times across the United States. His feature articles have appeared in national and international magazines for over 25 years. He is also the author of Immigration’s Unarmed Invasion: Deadly Consequences. He regularly writes for the website www.beforeitsnews.com, an excellent source of back-story news as well as news that never reaches TV. Go to www.frostywooldridge.com to learn more about this subject, and to find out what you can do.