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Immigration and Population Limits

This blog’s core assumption is that our civilization is threatened by the effects of “Too Many People Consuming Too Much”. Mother Nature has applied the same remedy to 99 percent of all species that have graced the Earth since life began three billion years ago. Extinction. The extinct 99 percent each multiplied until natural systems no longer supported them, and their numbers then shrank, either suddenly like the dinosaurs, or more slowly.

Homo Species, our own beautiful, intelligent species, has harnessed Earth’s land, air and water to our own needs with a speed and thoroughness unprecedented in life’s three billion years. For decades science has told us that human numbers and our applied technologies were changing the natural systems which have supported 10,000 years of civilizations, and that the changes were probably not benign. Human-generated greenhouse gasses have warmed the planet and started a cascade of effects, including new weather patterns and a warmer, chemically altered ocean.

This leads into the current arguments about immigration into the United States. President Trump has pushed for a wall to make the southern border less porous to immigrants and recently implemented a policy of separating adults who enter the country illegally from their minor children. Trump has, somewhat, backed off the family-separation policy in the face of loud protests from voters moved by the tears of young children forcibly separated from their mothers. The issue is balancing the compassion we naturally feel for those fleeing violence and perhaps starvation with the need to protect people who are already here, and their progeny.

Violence and populations which exceed available resources are life conditions for billions of people, and those numbers will likely grow for a time. We may believe that the life and health of a two-year-old girl in a Mexico barrio is as valuable as the life of a child born in Omaha. But the reality is that the United States and other wealthy countries cannot protect all the world’s hungry two-year olds, particularly when their numbers continue to grow quickly, from lack of birth control and other religious and cultural factors. I cannot say that my family and friends deserve the good fortune we enjoy from being born and raised amidst prosperity, but we have it, and we cannot wave a magic wand and give it to all the world’s needy.

Long-term, two unpleasant, controversial processes need to occur to defer Home Sapiens’ reckoning with the consequences of our numbers and lifestyles. First, death rates need to exceed birth rates. This is already happening in some European and American caucasian populations. Second, per capita consumption of natural resources needs to decline, particularly in wealthy countries like our own.

Mother Nature is watching us.


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