Monday, February 26, 2007

Overpopulation is a Local Problem and a Global Problem by Brishen Hoff

It's pretty clear that overpopulation is a global problem. Even soft-greens won't argue with that. There are over 6.5 billion people and each year another 80 million people are added to this unsustainably high global population.
As a result, year after year our forests, lakes, rivers, oceans, and ecosystems trend towards an overall worsening of quality.
When I was born in 1980 there were only 24 million Canadians. Quality of life was much better. People didn't need to work long hours. The price of land was much more affordable for the average person. Heck, a middle class person could probably retire easily on one of BC's gulf islands which are now only for millionaires.

More and more, when I criticize Canada's population growth via immigration, I hear from others that population is a global problem, not a local problem.

I would argue that it is both.

-If a small island has too many people, there is the possibility that dozens of unique species would become extinct. Therefore the island would be locally overpopulated.

-In the absurd hypothetical scenario...
If Canada were to accept all 3.5 million people of Lebanon as immigrants, Lebanon would likely grow back to its former population and Canada's ecosystems would be largely destroyed. Canada's biodiversity, water quality, greenbelts, etc would get hugely degraded by the addition of 3.5 million consumers.

Canada is already locally overpopulated and the world is globally overpopulated. This is my opinion based on the fact that we have lost thousands of species and our environment continues to degrade directly in proportion to population growth.

Many soft-greens argue that immigration is not an environmental concern. Eg: If 1000 people immigrate to Canada from Bangladesh, the total amount of resources consumed wouldn't change. This is not true. Canadians consume more per person.

In short, humans have already spread relentlessly across the globe, collapsing ecosystems and throwing nature out of balance.

I am anti-immigration at this point in our human history, because allowing humans to continue to spread accross the earth will just allow them to maximize their population, which is already too high.

I am anti-immigration, not anti-immigrant. We are all immigrants at some point or another. Even Canada's native aboriginal people are immigrants from Asia. I don't blame immigrants. Who could blame an incoming immigrant to Canada for wanting to better their life? They are simply being smart to want to come to a country with more untapped natural resources and freshwater and wildlife than their country of origin. However, I do blame the Canadians who let in immigrants because they are ignoring the finite carrying capacity of our land. Our oceans are already overfished, our large rivers are already dammed, our lakes are already polluted with human sewage. Our farm land soils are already heavily degraded through industrial monoculture farming. Our forests have been converted from biodiverse paradises to tree-farm monocultures that were replanted with a non-native economical tree after the original forest was clearcut.

When was the last time you heard the media present any arguments against immigration? Every day on the CBC news, more propaganda glorifying Canada's immigration system is broadcasted. Never is Canadian immigration criticized from an ecological perspective in the mainstream media. This is because mainstream media is owned by big business and big business likes population growth.

Why should the majority of Canadians suffer with an impoverished environment and intense competition for remaining resources just so a tiny group of CEOs get short-term profits from Canadian population growth (the chief instrument of Canadian economic growth)?

Economic Growth can't go on forever in a world of finite resources, so why don't we stop trying to increase our GDP now while there is still a shred of biodiversity left and before the remaining fragments of Canadian wilderness are gone?

We Canadians have a moral obligation to the flora and fauna that already call Canada home.
We Canadians have a moral obligation to the people who already call Canada home.
Allowing more people into Canada is betraying Canada's current residents by destroying the Canadian environment and reducing resources per capita.

Canada is not a lifeboat of unlimitted carrying-capacity. Our Canadian lifeboat will already sink once oil and gas are depleted. Why make it sink faster by adding more immigrants?

If we don't deal with overpopulation as a local problem here in our home town, our home township, our home county, our home province, our home country, how can we even dream of dealing with the problem globally?
Posted by Brishen Hoff at 10:25 AM Blog site: http://ecologicalcrash.blogspot.com
1 comments:
Tim Murray said...
Hoff is dead right. The population bomb is not only ticking in the Third World. It's ticking right here. By century's end we can expect to see 70 million Canadians and 700 million Americans if immigration rates are not checked. The environmental destruction which Hoff describes is manifest. It was apparent ten years ago to 23 UBC academicians who studied the Fraser Valley, and after noting the damage to ecosystems from urban sprawl concluded that the population level was three times higher than what was sustainable. Realizing that this kind of growth was rampant across Canada they concluded in their $2.4 million report that Ottawa adopt a population policy that is consistent with the principles of sustainablility. What should also be of concern to soft greens,who apparently don't care if we exceed our carrying capacity and live in a garbage dump, is that immigration to North America is bad news for the global environment too. The transfer of people from areas of low consumption to areas of high consumption will magnify their footprint considerably. Bottom line for green trendies: Too many people. Too much consumption. Deal with both. Or you're not dealing with either. You are in denial.

Just Who Is In Denial?

So Brian Peckford denies the scientific consensus about climate change. He has company. There are still those who deny Hitler’s Holocaust, many who denied Stalin’s Ukranian genocide, people who deny that the moon landings took place and people who deny the decisive cogency of the theory of natural selection. Incredibly there remain people who deny that the earth is a sphere. What makes Peckford’s denial more dangerous than the aforementioned lunacies is that if it proves contagious it would paralyze those who might otherwise effect measures to counter-act climate change.
But more lethal than his denial is the denial of mainstream environmentalists and “green” politicians who refuse to recognize the role that population growth plays in environmental degradation. Their focus is entirely on “consumption”, but that is only one-half, albeit an important half, of the equation.
The questions we must ask are these: What is the point of cutting our per capita energy consumption in half if we turn around and double our population? What is the point of cutting our greenhouse gas emissions by 20% but grow the economy by another 20% so that all things that emit gases exist in greater numbers?
In 1996 Tony Blair introduced a bold plan to slash greenhouse emissions by 20% over ten years. The result? Greenhouse gas emissions actually increased 3% over that 10 year period. Why? Individual cars and individual factories, thanks to his tough regulations, were spewing less noxious gases alright, but thanks to economic growth and the population growth that fuels it, the number of cars and factories increased during that period to erase any gains his stringent standards made. As a result, 80 British MPs signed a document to the effect that the only way that we could combat climate change was to abandon the paradigm of Economic Growth. Economic Growth, it should be noted, is a function of population level and per capita consumption rates.
Economic growth will thwart Kyoto targets and it will continue to destroy habitat across the globe. The loss of biodiversity and the vital services it provides us is the forgotten casualty of our relentless growth—and it is a catastrophe just as fatal as the one Al Gore has dramatized. It’s just that global warming is sexy, the flavour of the month, the one environmental issue that has finally grabbed our attention. What Gore doesn’t understand, what his groupies don’t understand, is that we won’t be rescued by all of us becoming “green” consumers. What we need are fewer consumers, green or otherwise. Globally, but in North America even more so because we have a huge footprint. As author Richard Wakefield put it, “ the more humans there are, the more environmental degradation there will be. More homes needed to be built, more food grown, more energy required and more CO2 emissions.”
And yet so-called “green” politicians like Elizabeth May, Jack Layton and Mr. Dion call for immigration rates which will shortly add 8 million people to our current 32, excluding their permissive attitude to refugees. How can a Canada of 40, 50 million people happily co-exist with a healthy biodiversity and zero energy growth, not to mention with the little arable land that has not yet been carved up by subdivisions. One prominent local B.C. biologist offered the guess that Canada’s environment could sustain its present population level of 32 million IF we reverted to the consumption rates of the early 1950s. If we add another 8 million people do we then have to consume at 1935 rates?
Too many people, too much consumption. If you don’t deal with both, you deal with neither. You are in denial. You are as much a fully-paid up member of the Green Party, the NDP, Dion’s Liberals, the Sierra Club or the Suzuki Foundation, all of whom dance around peripheral issues without addressing root causes. You have jumped on board the runaway train of Economic Growth, which apparently, will not be slowed by the pro-active intervention of awakened politicians, but abruptly de-railed by the imminent calamity of oil and natural gas depletion. A disaster for us, a respite for the environment. Perhaps.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Town Limits: Restricting the Size of Communities for Liveability by Ray Grigg

Is your town outgrowing the comfortable and friendly size that once
made it an appealing place to work, raise a family or retire? Are you
concerned about escalating traffic congestion, increased taxes, crime
and the plethora of social ills that come with a rising population?
Worried that the inexorable result of continual growth will be an urban
sprawl which will eventually degrade or consume the natural places
making your community so beautiful and special?

Bigger isn't necessarily better. That's what some communities are
realizing as they stare into the ominous challenges that come with
continual growth. So some are deliberately limiting their size to
preserve those qualities that make them appealing and liveable.

Okotoks is an Alberta community of 16,500 that nestles in the Sheep
River Valley about 18 km south of Calgary. Its decision to pursue a
policy of "smart growth" stems from a limited supply of water. Rather
than stress their scenic river by taking more than 10 percent of its
flow, the community has decided to restrict its population to 30,000.
And it is petitioning Calgary to reduce its spread before Okotoks
becomes just another impersonalized suburban appendage of the city.

But a much better example is the town of Qualicum Beach,BC. It, too, has
considered the results of continual grown and it didn't like the
prospects. Why should any community willingly participate in a process
that destroys the very attributes that make it appealing? So Qualicum
has set its population limit at 11,000, very close to its present
numbers.

The reasons are many, explains Councillor Barry Avis. Water supplies
are an issue. So are the natural features and wildlife habitat that
contribute so much to the quality of life in the community. But the
major concern is lifestyle. The town has a friendly and manageable size
that would be compromised by further growth. The challenge now is to
maintain and enhance these desirable attributes, a task made even more
difficult when the pressure to develop actually increases with the
quality of life. Qualicum recognizes this dilemma and is taking
conscious measures to avoid the trap set by its own success.

At first glance, its policy of zero growth seems selfish and
exclusionary. What consideration does it show for others who want to
live in Qualicum? What are the ethical implications of denying others
access to its quality of life? When by-laws are imposed to legitimately
regulate development and population, the situation begins to resemble
the "lifeboat" dilemma that prevents survivors from coming aboard. On
the other side of the ledger, what are the costs to Qualicum's residents
if their openness causes them to lose the very attributes that make
their community special?

Avis sees a way through this dilemma. The strategy is to help others
build their own lifeboats. In other words, to work with the regional
district to discourage sprawl outside Qualicum's boundaries where the
town has no direct control of zoning - adjacent sprawl would inevitably
undermine Qualicum's primary objective of self preservation - and to
promote nodal communities as an option.

Nodal communities would encourage populations to cluster, to develop
their own identities and to solve their own problems in their own unique
ways. Rather than let population increases create expansive and
impersonal suburbs where people feel lost and ineffectual, each node
could eventually become a distinctive community where people have
control and influence. The strategy would also preserve agricultural
land, so important for local food production and sustainability.
Qualicum's gesture of self-interested survival actually becomes a model
for intelligent growth.

Avis is aware of this effect. When Qualicum's living conditions are
manageable - it still wants to better attend to the full life cycle of
its residents by providing more nursing care facilities for its seniors
- it can then more easily help other communities improve their own
living conditions. Communities are most capable of assisting others when
their own lives are in order. The "lifeboat" metaphor is closer to the
"airplane" metaphor - "In the event of a loss in cabin pressure, please
attach your own oxygen mask before attempting to help others." Expressed
on a larger scale, this is the process whereby wealthy nations help poor
ones to help themselves.

Such a strategy has implications for national immigration policies,
particularly when environmental problems are becoming more critical and
human population is expected to rise towards a peak of 9 billion by the
end of this century. Accordingly, immigration policy is already being
hotly debated in Canada and other developed countries. Perhaps the
biggest schism to occur in the century-old history of America's
venerable Sierra Club was related to whether or not the organization
should officially endorse a US policy of continual population growth
through immigration. One side argued that people pollute, consume
resources, occupy space and eventually destroy the natural ecologies
that make places special. The other side countered that immigrants
create economic prosperity and cultural wealth, and that every nation
has a moral responsibility to receive the refugees of other countries.

Qualicum and Okotoks are just two examples of the world's population
dilemma written small enough to be local. Expressed in their by-laws is
the realization that growth can be self-defeating if it ruins the human
and natural environments that enrich community life. More challenging,
however, is the brave realization that we must confront the reality of
population limits simply because indefinite growth is not an option on a
planet of finite space and resources. Perhaps towns are the best places
to test this new thinking

The Delusion of Sustainable Growth-letter to the Star

Re: PM must act on Kyoto now, Opinion, Feb 23

St├ęphane Dion is making a fundamental flaw, a flaw shared by all the political parties, that economic growth can be sustainable. In a finite environment with the human population growing, consuming more raw natural resources, resources which have a limited supply it is physically impossible to be sustainable. The more humans there are the more environmental degradation there will be. More homes needed to be built, more food grown, more energy required, and more CO2 emissions.

In the not so distant future, within the lifetimes of the young people living today, we will hit the carrying capacity of this planet. Oil and natural gas will peak and head into terminal decline. Alternatives cannot be scaled up to replace oil.

If humanity wants to avoid civilization collapse this delusion of sustainable growth must be rejected and a full effort started to reverse human population growth.

Richard Wakefield
Komoka, Ontario

Monday, February 12, 2007

THE NDP AND ECONOMIC GROWTH: A LETTER TO MY NDP MLA

Having just read the email from caucus about our new "tough" greenhouse emissions policies, forgive me if I'm not impressed. You should know that Tony Blair brought in a "tough" greenhouse emissions policy in 1996 that promised to reduce greenhouse gases by 20% over 10 years. After 10 years emissions actually rose by 3%. Why? While individual cars and individual plants spewed out fewer noxious gases under Blair's tough restrictions, the NUMBER of cars and plants increased over that same decade thanks to a growing economy fuelled by a growing population. So the gains from emission controls were wiped out by growth. Noting that, 80 British MPs declared that climate change could only be defeated if we abandoned the paradigm of Economic Growth.
The NDP, like all the other parties, is committed to Economic Growth. Calling it "managed" growth, or "sustainable growth" or "smart growth" as your resident idiot caucus colleague Mr. Simpson does, does not disguise the fact that it is still growth. It is what will thwart all soft-green remedies to fight climate change and it is what is killing biodiversity everywhere on the planet. You cannot graft a Green Agenda on a political party committed to Economic Growth. Oxymorons will not suffice to dismiss the contradictions. The NDP, both nationally and provincially, likes to present itself as being on the cutting edge of change, but its core attachment is to an obsolete and lethal model of economic (dis)organization. Re-distributing income equitably within this model does not rescue it from needed abandonment. We can't make social justice our priority anymore. We're talking about saving the friggin’ environment that keeps us alive.
As far as my apparent obsession with Mr. Simpson goes, it's like this. Suppose the NDP critic for the Ministry of Children and Families were to tell me to my face that we could take a "balanced" approach to child-rearing. That is, parents could both "love" their children and have them horse-whipped at the same time. How would you expect me to react? If the Attorney-General critic or the MLA in charge of corrections made a statement in favour of corporal punishment for children, I would be very surprised , but if it came from you I would be appalled and outraged. When Mr. Simpson speaks to me of " managed growth" he is talking the same kind of outrageous double-talk. I just can't get over the fact that he is leader Carol James' idea of an Environment critic.

I have said enough to you on this subject, no doubt you are tired of reading it, if indeed you do. Given your crushing work schedule and travel obligations, I don't expect a reply. I'll treat this as just another exercise in therapeutic catharsis

THE BC NDP’S TOUGH GREENHOUSE EMISSIONS POLICY: a response to Paul Willcocks

Mr. Willcocks,
Two questions. What is the point of cutting our per capital energy consumption in half if we turn around and double our population? What is the point of cutting our greenhouse gas emissions by 20% but grow the economy by another 20% so that all of things that emit gases exist in greater numbers?
In 1996 Tony Blair introduced a bold plan to slash greenhouse emissions by 20% over ten years. The result? Greenhouse gas emissions actually increased 3% over that 10 year period. Why? Individual cars and individual factories, thanks to his tough regulations, were spewing less noxious gases alright, but thanks to economic growth and the population growth that fuels it, the NUMBER of cars and factories increased during that period to erase any gains his stringent standards made. As a result, 80 British MPs signed a document to the effect that the only way that we could combat climate change was to abandon the paradigm of Economic Growth.
The social democrats in Victoria and Ottawa believe that they are on the cutting edge of change. But they are committed to Economic Growth. Case in point. The environment critic for the BC NDP, Shane Simpson, has the environmental literacy of a car salesman. He has no concept of biodiversity services, limiting factors or carrying capacity. He is an urbanite who has never hiked a mountain trail or been on a marsh and wouldn't know a red-winged black-bird from a barn-owl. His line is "managed growth". Growth for him is never something you limit, or stop. It's something you steer, deflect or "manage". He boasts of his environmentalist credentials but in fact he was the director of communications for "SmartGrowthBC", in other words, he is a developer with a green hat. For him, and for the NDP, oxymorons like "managed growth", "sustainable growth” and "smart growth" suffice to explain irreconcilable conflicts. "Smart growth"? What's next? "Smart pollution"? "Smart urban sprawl"?, "Smart extinctions"?.
Mr. Willcocks my point is that you cannot graft a green agenda onto a political party committed to economic growth. The window dressing may look impressive, but it does not disguise the fact that this party, like all the others, is leading down the wrong direction. And I say that as a man who has been an NDP member for 39 years

PS Climate change is the flavour of the month. Global warming is sexy. It's the one environmental issue that's finally grabbed everyone's attention. But why doesn't anyone talk about biodiversity loss and how lethal that will prove to humanity? That's been underway for some time now and the consequences will hit us sooner.(Talk to biologist Neil Dawe of the Qualicum Institute). Then there is Peak Oil and Natural Gas depletion. Look out for that. Its like we are driving down a highway cut by three canyons. Fifty miles down is the full impact of global warming. But twenty miles down is total habitat loss and the loss of biodiversity services. Then, maybe, just a few miles away we may run into devastating Oil and Natural Gas depletion---a disaster for us but maybe a respite for the environment. Our politicians haven't even the slightest grasp of the dire nature of our predicament. No wonder people on the Internet have given up on them and are talking survivalism---building bunkers and provisioning them with food and munitions in remote areas. That's not a sensible option for me. I can only vent my frustrations to people like you and send emails to the folks in the legislature and parliament who routinely ignore me.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

NAME-CALLING DOESN’T ALTER THE HARD TRUTH

I suppose being called a right-wing, lunatic, extremist, racist is a rite of passage for anyone posting anti-immigration views on a blog. It was quite predictable. A guy called Steve from most probably the London, Ontario area apparently thinks that name-calling suffices for constructive criticism. A self-proclaimed environmentalist, he just makes a hit-and-run attack without telling us how he plans to protect his beloved environment from the appetites of the 20 million new consumers from Bangledesh that he wants to admit to Canada as climate change refugees. It’s just easier to call somebody a racist than to face up to his own contradictions.

Then there is Dr. William Rees, an eminent ecologist at UBC. He too disputes my position on climate change refugees. But his is not the knee-jerk, emotive reaction of the politically correct. His approach is reasoned, not vituperative. He thinks migration is bad for the global environment and immigration not so good for ours. So, unlike the Steves of the environmental movement, Dr. Rees appreciates that population levels impact the environment. His issue with me is this: The people displaced by rising sea levels will have lost their homes because of our excessive consumption, so we are morally culpable. We did a number on them, so we owe it to them to give them a new home. My answer?

It’s analogous to what politicians once said a decade or so ago about the cod fishery. “The economy of Newfoundland requires that cod fisherman be able to make a living catching cod so let them go out there and continue fishing.” Well, what the economy requires, or what we want, is irrelevant. It’s what the environment will sustain. And in this case it couldn’t sustain any more cod fishing. Case closed. Similarly, when someone says that we have a moral responsibility to admit 10 or 20 million climate change refugees—or any other kind of refugees, it is irrelevant. It may very well BE our moral responsibility---I would disagree---but let’s assume so. The point, however, is that a healthy biodiversity in Canada, as proven by Millenium Assessment studies, cannot tolerate these numbers or even sustain the population we currently have at current consumption rates. It’s not what we may want or have a moral responsibility to do, it’s the biophysical limits we must obey. And I would argue that our real moral responsibility is to abide by those limits. Because if we don’t, habitat dies and the ecosystem services which support human population in Canada dies. And any refugees who made it here die along with us. This is the Hard Truth I am trying to tell. Calling me a “right-wing lunatic extremist” with a “racist” agenda will not change that Truth. There are limits to economic and population growth in Canada and the United States because there is a such thing called “carrying capacity”---and we’ve already exceeded it.

And now, Steve, back to you, who ever you are. Let me tell you about this particular “right-wing racist extremist”:

I have worked for, donated to, voted for, and been a member of the NDP for 39 years. I supported the infamous radical Waffle Manifesto in 69 and an initiative which put immigration and population control recommendations in the 1972 BC NDP Policy book. My “extremism” was always on the left and found a home on the left. I read the complete works of Karl Marx and his books are still on my shelves. One of my favourite environmentalists is Fidel Castro who has done wonders in creating a model of agrarian self-sufficiency for the world.

Four people in my family are Asian, one Vietnamese, one Chinese, two mixed and I love them all. I have Asian friends too. Kind of blew your stereotype didn’t I Steve? Not quite what you imagined in an “extreme right-wing lunatic racist”, eh? I have no racist agenda Steve. I have an environmental agenda. I have a Green agenda, not a White one. My attitude is exactly that of Paul Watson when he was asked if he opposed Mexican migration to California because he didn’t like Mexicans. He replied that he didn’t care if 100% of California was Mexican, as it once was, because ethnic composition was not the issue. The runaway population growth of California was the issue. The environment trumps any human rights concern.

And Paul Watson a racist? Then he would have to hate his own kid, who is a product of mixed parentage. The race card is always played by the politically correct when they can’t answer your questions with reasoned debate. The ruling clique of the Sierra Club couldn’t contest Paul Watson’s arguments that unless there was a moratorium on immigration, population levels in America would bury habitat and destroy the environment. So they called his supporters racists and beat back his challenge. The same tactics work just as well, or better in Canada. As was once said of patriotism can also be said of anti-racism, it’s “the last refuge of scoundrels.”

Steve, you and your like, are pathetic. The Canada your trendy soft-green feel-good policies will bring us will be one on the brink of collapse from unchecked growth. If you position me alongside the corporate establishment you claim to fight, then I position you alongside the CEO of Exon-Mobil. You are both equally dangerous, but morally you stand even more condemned than the captains of industry because draped in a green cloak you and your ilk side-track people who want to protect the environment down an ineffectual road.

Friday, February 2, 2007

HARD QUESTIONS FOR ‘SOFT’ GREENS

You say you’re OK with the idea of reducing our population. But you are not comfortable with immigration cut-backs. Birth control, more abortion services, tax incentives for fewer children are fine. But your parents, or grand-parents, or friends are immigrants and by the way, aren’t mine too?

The problem is, all the measures you would agree to would do little to reverse population growth in North America. Immigration accounts for 70% of American population growth and two-thirds of Canada’s. Without immigration, population in both countries levels off. If immigration persists at current rates, the USA will see 700 million citizens and Canada 70 million by century’s end.

But you’re just not comfortable about dealing with immigration in a country of 32 million people. Will you be comfortable dealing with it when we reach Jack Layton’s goal of 40 million—shared by other federal leaders?

Will you be comfortable with no immigration freeze at 50 million? 60 million?

At what point would you be willing to concede that we had exceeded our carrying-capacity in Canada? DO YOU EVEN ACCEPT THAT WE HAVE A “CARRYING CAPACITY” IN CANADA?”

According to Millenium Assessment findings 60% of 24 ecosystem services were being degraded unsustainably over the past 50 years. There is a fundamental conflict between economic growth and ecosystem services and between economic growth and biodiversity conservation. Economic growth is a function of population level and per capita consumption.

You say you want to reduce consumption. Great. But you apparently want to take population growth out of the equation. Absurd. Paul Ehrlich’s old “IPAT” formula still applies. When assessing environmental impact, its I (Impact)= P(Population)X A(Affluence or Consumption) X T for Technology. Biologist Neil Dawe of the Qualicum Institute, in the most optimistic guess I’ve read, said that biodiversity could probably subsist alongside Canada’s current population of 32 million---if we consumed at the level we did in 1950. Do you think that’s likely?

You speak of hybrid cars, solar panels, windmills and retro-fits. How far toward 1950 will that get us? And when Jack Layton’s dream comes true—very shortly—and we have 40 million Canadians, will we then need to consume at the level of 1935? How “green” would consumers have to get to erase the damage that that extra 8 million consumers will inflict on the environment?

And we haven’t yet talked about that great sacred cow of Canadian political discourse---REFUGEES.

Oh dear me, we can’t keep them out, can we?

OK then, how many? The UN says there are 50 million right now. How many of these are we going to take in? 1 million? 5 million? 10 million? That’s just for starters. Along comes global warming and rising sea levels. Al Gore says that around the city of Shanghai alone 40 million people will be displaced. Multiply that a hundred times around the world. Where will your bleeding heart take us then?

You call yourself an “environmentalist”. Your politics are “green”. But your concern for people obviously takes priority over your self-proclaimed concern for nature. Trouble is, nature is in the driver’s seat. Whatever number of people you want to admit to Canada is academic. It’s what the ecosystem will sustain. And with 32 million people, it’s not bearing up very well. To repeat , 60% of 24 ecosystem “services” are degraded. Your human rights agenda will come right up against biodiversity collapse. Its called a “Limiting Factor”.

There is a limit, yes even in Canada, to population growth and to the economic growth it propels. And when push comes to shove, there will also be a limit to our compassion. Or to put it another way, our compassion toward the world will no longer come at the expense of our compassion to our own families, our community, our own nation, and the biodiversity that sustains us all.

So the ball’s in your court, soft green. You won’t face up to the need for population stabilization. You would prefer runaway population growth to immigration cut-backs and an open-ended refugee policy without regard to the environmental consequences of such a course. Apparently, for you, the sky’s the limit. All we need do is be good little “green” consumers and reduce our footprint just a little bit more for each new entrant to the country.

Now tell me how this is all supposed to work. How is biodiversity supposed to co-exist with 40, 50, 70 million Canadian consumers, however “green” they are? How do you reduce green-house emissions when you substantially increase the population. Tony Blair’s bold plan was to reduce emissions with tough new standards by 20% over 10 years. Instead, emissions increased 3% ! Why? Because although factories and cars spewed less noxious gas, economic and population growth increased the number of factories and cars! Back to square one! Numbers do matter.

Until you cope with these questions, soft green, you are, in my estimation, a counterfeit green.

And in your estimation I am, no doubt, all of those nasty adjectives in the politically correct lexicon—a callous, xenophobic, misanthropic, deep ecologist with a fortress mentality and a hidden “racist” agenda. It’s OK. I’m used to it. The race card always gets played when all other arguments fail. I’m inclined to believe that what was said of patriotism is true of anti-racism—it’s the last refuge of scoundrels.