Today is Earth Day, a worldwide celebration of our planet.
Most people spend the day engaging in environmentally-focused activities but some use it to peddle their wacky political views. Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, is one of those people. He’s an alarmist who stokes fears about overpopulation to fuel attacks on immigrants. NumbersUSA’s latest study, authored by Beck, Leon Kolankiewicz and Ann Manetas, titled “Vanishing Open Spaces: How an Exploding U.S. Population Is Devouring the Land that Feeds and Nourishes Us,” is a perfect example of these divisive arguments.
Here are informative and (sometimes) entertaining articles and videos breaking down the sneaky tactics used by NumbersUSA and other population alarmists (click on the headers to read the entire articles):
To address the climate crisis more successfully, we must acknowledge the complex and sometimes appalling aspects of the environmental movement’s history. And make sure strains of that history aren’t influential today.
One of their favorite tactics is to show up at Earth Day events to advance the flawed notion that immigration is bad for the environment. NumbersUSA has a booth every year at Earth Day Texas, for example. There are some easy ways to make known their presence isn’t welcome:
- Report them to event coordinators. Often, coordinators of large events don’t do due diligence on the groups tabling or presenting at these events.
- If you see an anti-immigrant group featured at an Earth Day event, speak up. Tell them you know about their connections to white nationalism and that they are distracting from the real causes of the climate crisis.
- Distribute this nifty downloadable flier, Top Ten Reasons Immigrants are Not To Blame for Environmental Degradation, created by Betsy Hartmann, Director of the Population and Development Program and Professor of Development Studies at Hampshire College
The first indication that population control extremists are up to no good is that their arguments are illogical and rely on outdated ideas about climate change and population growth. Groups like Californians for Population Stabilization, NumbersUSA and Negative Population Growth argue that immigration increases the US population, which in turn causes resource depletion, pollution, climate change and even oil spills. Beyond unfairly blaming immigrants, the arguments are simply inaccurate. They presume that the United States’ environmental problems are isolated from the rest of the world. Rising temperatures and sea levels don’t respect national boundaries, and migration across national boundaries does not change total world population. Moreover, overpopulation has been debunked as a primary cause of environmental degradation.
An immigration-restrictionist group is using Earth Day to blame immigrants for three of California’s most urgent environmental issues: increased car usage, increased population, and water shortage. According to a television ad released by the organization California for Population Stabilization (CAPS) on Wednesday, the ongoing environmental degradation in the state is a result of immigrant-driven population growth.
In the ad, a petrified child asks a series of question, while harrowing statistics pop up beside him: “If Californians are having fewer children, why are there so many cars?”; “If Californians are having fewer children, why isn’t there enough water”; and “If Californians are having fewer children, where are all the people coming from?”
On April 25, 2012, the Colbert Report criticized an advertisement by Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS). The clip also reveals connections between CAPS’s supposed environmental agenda and white nationalism. Check out the video below!
Also, check out Imagine2050′s spoof: