Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Eco-Reactionarianism

An advertisement in The Nation recently caught my eye. The top half of the page is a photo of a bulldozer, plowing through a forest. The caption reads "One of America's Best Selling Vehicles." At first glance it appears to be a typical promo spot for an environmental group, perhaps the Sierra Club or maybe even Greenpeace. But reading closer I found that this page was paid for by the American Immigration Control Foundation, Californians for Population Stabilization, and other immigration restrictionist organizations. Here is the main argument:

"The Pew Hispanic Center projects 82% of the country's massive population increase, between 2005 and 2050, will result from immigration. And with every new U.S. resident, whether from births or immigration, comes further degradation of America's natural treasures.There's not much we can do to reclaim the hundreds of millions of acres already destroyed. But we can do something about what's left."

This new Malthusian twist brings to mind the advocates of "zero population" more than 40 years ago. In a way I admire the panache of going straight at a liberal (white) readership and appealing to their Earth First sentimentality. Are immigrants destroying our forests and stealing our national treasure?

Of course there is not much data to support this notion, but one broad point is not without merit. Our future economy and lifestyle is largely dependent on immigrants. And at some point we will need to get serious about how we aim to integrate, train, and maximize the contributions of one of our most precious resources - the American immigrant.

1 comment:

Bob Giloth said...

What a paranoid stretch to link immigrants and environmental degradation. You would think that guzzling oil and out-of-control metro growth might be more worthy targets. And they are.