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:
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.


Karl Weiss said...

I agree with what you wrote here. I don't know what can be done, though. When I bring it up in conversation, people just don't want to hear it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what was written as well, but I would like to add my concerns regarding invitro fertilization, lesbians and gay men having children? I have children, but everyday wonder what type of world they are going to have to live in.

Pakistani said...

I have written a lengthy blog post on my country's (Pakistan) overpopulation crisis and plan on a post discussing it on a global scale. I also do plan on debunking this nonsensical "rich people consume more resources" myth in my upcoming post.

I totally agree with your sentiments.