The Retreat from Advocating for Environmental/Population Balance – From Mainstream Conservationism to ‘Voices in the Wilderness’

Veterans of the environmental movement, among them Earth Day founder and former U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-WI), acknowledged the nexus between increases in population and environmental hazards. They came to acknowledge the need to limit immigration to the United States in order to control population growth that would inevitably place ever greater pressure on natural resources and our environment. And there would be little possibility of living without the stresses that necessarily accompany overcrowding.

In this issue of The Social Contract, leading with Brenda Walker’s article on “Liberal Policy Switches,” we review the dramatic shift of mainstream environmental organizations, especially the Sierra Club, from recognizing the need for population limitations (which means supporting immigration restriction, given that almost all U.S. population growth is driven by post-1965 immigrants and their children and grandchildren) to “neutrality” or active opposition to sensible calls to end mass immigration and establish an environmentally responsible U.S. population policy.

Frosty Wooldridge reflects on his own awakening. As he remarks, “Five years previous to Earth Day, little did anyone think about the fact that our U.S. Congress… pushed through the most dangerous bill in U.S. history, without debate: the 1965 Immigration Reform Act…. [a sponsor] Senator Howard Metzenbaum said, ‘We’ve opened the floodgates.’”