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Monday, 14 July 2014

Environmentalist / Corporate Rapprochement around Immigration

by Ricardo Duchesne and Tim Murray

US Population with and without immigration 1776-2009

In my [Murray's] small community, in December of 2009, the local branch of the Sierra Club, Sierra Quadra, held a demonstration in front of the post office at the Q. Cove shopping plaza. Demonstrators carried placards urging delegates at the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change to come to a meaningful and effective agreement.

A few days ago, July 11, 2014, was "World Population Day", where people across the world tried to raise awareness about the need to address this most serious emergency of world overpopulation. Guess what? No Sierra Club demonstrators were to be seen either here on Quadra Island, or in front of B.C. Sierra Club headquarters in Victoria, or in any branch of the Sierra Club in Canada. How could these climate-obsessed "environmentalists" remain silent about the primary underlying driver of all environmental problems: overpopulation?

For the founder of Earth Day, Gaylord Nelson, overpopulation was a key constituent of environmental degradation. This relationship between environmental degradation and population growth was accepted by every one of Nelson's allies, including long-time Sierra Club director David Brower. In fact, the IPAT equation, developed by Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren, was the foundational formula of the environmental movement as it emerged in the 1970s. "I" (environmental impact) = P (the population level) x A (per capita consumption) x T (technological change). Some believed that post-World War II production technologies were the main reason for environmental deterioration, but Ehrlich and Holdren insisted that population size was the most important IPAT factor.

What happened? Somewhere along the way, the environmental establishment lost its way, it abandoned the key insight that IPAT represented. Why? There were two key reasons. The rise of political correctness was one of them. The need to please corporate benefactors was another one. But how did two seemingly opposite political forces, PC and corporate sponsorship, played a unified role in downplaying population growth? We can start answering this question by mentioning that for many environmentalists in the 1990s it was becoming rather obvious that population growth in the United States (and other nations like Canada and Australia) was being driven not by native fertility rates but by immigration.

John Tanton, who started out as a Sierra Club activist in the 1960s, was a key figure in initiating this focus on immigration = population = urban sprawl as the dominant cause of environmental degradation. Tanton made this connection in the 1970s. By 1980 Sierra Club officials had come to agreed that it was "obvious that the numbers of immigrants the United States accepts affects our population size" and that an "important question" for environmentalists is "how many immigrants the United States wants to accept." A paper published by Center for Immigration Studies explains well why immigration became the chief factor in population growth in the United States, and why both conservatives and liberals came to agree that immigration was good for America, and why environmental advocates who were truly concerned with ecological breakdown, had to confront this new reality:
When most Americans began to focus on U.S. growth in the 1960s, immigration was an almost insignificant fraction of growth. Over the previous half-century, annual legal immigration had averaged less than 200,000 — below the historical average of around 250,000 a year. Modifications in immigration law in 1965 inadvertently started a chain migration through extended family members that began to snowball during the 1970s. Every aspect of population growth in the United States changed, according to voluminous government reports from the National Center for Health Statistics, the Census Bureau, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. At the very time that American fertility fell to a level that would have allowed population stabilization within a matter of decades, immigration levels were rising rapidly. Father Theodore Hesburgh, then president of Notre Dame University, was the chairman of a federal commission that studied immigration policies and issues in the late 1970s. He warned that immigration numbers would continue to rise because of two powerful political interest groups:
(1) conservative business interests which pushed for higher immigration to keep American wages down and the consumer market growing, and
(2) liberal lobbies intent on increasing the voting power of various ethnic groups.
Hesburgh's conclusions have proved prescient. In the years since, Congress and successive administrations have repeatedly made decisions that caused annual immigration numbers to rise. By the 1980s, annual immigration had more than doubled over traditional levels and was running above 500,000 a year. By the 1990s, annual average legal immigration had surpassed a million. And that didn't even include a net addition of 200,000 to 500,000 illegal aliens each year. By the end of the 1990s, immigrants and their offspring were contributing nearly 70 percent of U.S. population growth.2
Many publications came out in the 1980s and 90s on the links between immigration and environmental deterioration. But as these connections were being thoroughly investigated, political correctness was taking over Western cultures. Nevertheless, through the 1990s numerous (leftist) environmental groups were increasingly stressing the need for immigration limits. In August 1997, representatives of 40 environmental organizations — such as LA Earth First!, Friends of the Sea Otter, California Coalition for Immigration Reform, Voice of Citizens Together — formed the Alliance for Stabilizing America's Population, calling for a five-year ceiling on immigration at 100,000 per year.

Gaylord Nelson and Paul Erhlich, including Sea Shepherd Conservation Society leader Paul Watson, Rainforest Action leader Randy Hayes and Worldwatch Institute leader Lester Brown, all supported immigration restriction. It should be noted that Gaylord Nelson was a Democratic Senator for Wisconsin, a bona-fide liberal progressive, and yet he favoured immigration restrictions/reductions and assigned national and global overpopulation a decisive importance to environmental integrity — like other co-founders of Earth Day.

But PC was starting to have an impact, dividing the environmentalist leadership in the late 1990s. In 1998, Sierra Club Executive Director Pope, while still acknowledging that "overpopulation is, without question, a fundamental cause of the world's ills", cautioned that calling for immigration restriction by the Sierra Club "would be perceived as assisting people whose motivations are racist".

This preoccupation with racism coincided with growing corporate "awareness" of the environment as exemplified in corporate "green" initiatives and financial support for some environmentalist groups by millionaires. A case in point is David Gelbaum, a generous donor of the Sierra Club in the 1990s. Gelbaum, who accumulated hundreds of millions as a Wall Street investor, made it very clear to the Sierra Club that he was willing to be a major financier of the Sierra Club, but, as he was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article, "I did tell [Sierra Club Executive Director] Carl Pope in 1994 or 1995 that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me."1 The Sierra Club complied, and, as was later learned, it was the beneficiary of over $100 million dollars over the years 2000 and 2001.

The result? Sierra Club not only refused to address immigration but decided to reverse its long held IPAT argument as a way of avoiding altogether any connections between population growth and immigration. Brenda Walker observes:
Along the way to its new identity, the Sierra Club lost many old members who were disgusted by the tragic devolution of John Muir's wilderness club into the leftists in hiking boots. However, the group acquired new associates which it appears to find quite agreeable, like, the SPLC, La Raza, and George Soros. So there is no shortage of money, even if the potential membership pool is greatly diminished...A timely illustration of today's Sierra Club priorities can be found in the campaign statements of the eight persons running in the 2011 Board of Directors election. There is not a single mention of population, not even that the global number is forecast to reach seven billion later this year.
The environmental movement was infiltrated and hijacked by Leftists, feminists, "human rights" crusaders, and academics keen on leisured walks along park trails while staying at expensive hotels during their habitual jet set conferences. All these fake environmentalists had the gall to accuse "right wing" anti-immigrationists in the movement of trying to hijack the movement. Most despicable was their use of the Southern Poverty Law Centre to smear many of the dissidents — people of impeccable conservationist credentials — with charges of "racism", a tactic that is still employed today with great effect.

One person the SPLC smeared without moral compunction was John Tanton. But listen to this easy-to-be found interview. He sounds like a very reasonable, logically coherent, scientifically oriented, moderate, and humane individual deeply concerned for the welfare of the American people. The intention of the SPLC is not to engage in open and scholarly debate with Tanton; it is to silence his views and disallow any intellectual diversity in the debate over immigration numbers.

Before their coup, the Sierra Club and the conservation movement was home to both "conservatives" and "liberals". With "populationists" driven out of the Sierra Club, and other movements, fake "environmentalist" organizations have largely had the field all to themselves. With no other place to go, sincere environmentalists, without an awareness of the IPAT formula or its history have walked into the Sierra Club with the naive expectation that it has something to do with sustainability. Unfortunately, the great majority of these well-meaning members fail to perform due diligence and look at the books. They don't know that the Sierra Club and its clones accept corporate donations. Some choose not to know. They don't ask the obvious questions, like "What must the Sierra Club say, or not say, to get this money?" "What do big corporations expect from them?" And, "Why does the leadership of the Sierra Club and the Suzuki Foundation and others of their ilk make no attempt to publicly and prominently reveal the source of their donations?"

In Canada, the Chairman of RBC, Gordon Nixon, has publicly advocated that Canada's immigrant intake should increase to 450,000 a year. In a speech he gave at a conference on "Immigration Policy" (June 28, 2012) he "strongly" stated "that immigration, integration, diversity and multiculturalism are all intertwined and success will be determined by our country's ability to lead across the board...implementing proactive immigration strategies."

Big banks favour immigration because it brings population growth, which increases their profit rate. They want more home buyers (more mortgages) and they want to loan money to home-builders too. And of course, like all big corporations, they want cheap labor.

It is a wonderful world: Corporations, Immigrants, Multiculturalists, Billionaires, and Leftists are all intertwined! RBC has been a donor to the David Suzuki Foundation, and the Suzuki Foundation has been reluctant to touch immigration or the population issues — until just a few months ago when Suzuki said in a French newspaper interview:
Oh, I think Canada is full too! Although it's the second largest country in the world, our useful area has been reduced. Our immigration policy is disgusting: We plunder southern countries by depriving them of future leaders, and we want to increase our population to support economic growth. It's crazy!
Guess what? This leftist was slammed by conservative minister Jason Kenney for expressing views that were "toxic and irresponsible" and "xenophobic". Ezra Levant, another fake conservative, did a whole segment on his Sun News show The Source about Suzuki's "xenophobic, crazy ideas that would put him to the right of the Ku Klux Klan on immigration."

Conservatives as the enforcers of political correctness!

Aside from these differences of emphasis, whether the emphasis is on corporate profits or distribution, on cheap labor or diversity enrichment, we are witnessing here a political convergence between the liberal left and right, between environmentalists and corporations, on the most fundamental questions of our time. The environmentalists get sponsored as long as they stayed away from immigration issues, and corporations are welcomed as long as they are "socially responsible".

But you can't be an authentic environmentalist and a population-denier at the same time. As Harvard University biologist E. O. Wilson said, "The raging monster upon the land is population growth. In its presence, sustainability is but a fragile theoretical construct."

So where are the real environmentalists?

What we see now are two distinct branches of environmental awareness. Here is the difference in a nutshell. In contemporary terms, an "environmentalist" (so-called) is someone who wants to manage the environment to fit a growing population and a "culturally diverse" society that welcomes immigrants. But an Eco-Malthusian wants to manage the population to fit the needs of the environment, and, in so thinking, draws a direct link between environmental deterioration, population growth, and immigration. In this sense, Eco-Malthusians are the only true environmentalists.

[1] "The Man behind the Land", Los Angeles Times, 27 October 2004
[2] "Why the Change?" Center Paper 18, March 2001


  1. "So where are the real environmentalists?"

    Maybe Pentti Linkola. In Finland, I think.

  2. Excellent article; I'd seen the unholy marriage between PC types and business long ago.

    A truly sustainable, high-tech population MUST be small and stable - the myth of constant growth, propped up by business, needs to GO.

    The new environmentalists expect us to turn our heat down and lights off to reduce our "carbon footprint", but it doesn't seem to bother them that they bring in a half-million new footprints to Canada every year. A bunch of small, muddy cat's feet make the floor just as dirty as a big pair of muddy farmer boots.

    But oh, the environmentalists tell us that all we have to do is pack ourselves in 30 to a house, like they do in India. I guess the body heat is supposed to keep us warm at -40.

    Sorry, I'd rather go live in the woods with Canadian wildlife and rob immigrants for a living, than put up with being forced to share my living space with strangers because of high rent/impossible house prices brought on by high immigration. Or a PC government telling us we "have to" take in immigrant families. I can see that coming, easily.


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