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Letters to the Editor
Earth Island Journal
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Have None for the Planet

Deborah Rich’s article “Hold Steady” (Summer) is soundly thought out – if you take the emphasis off the “need” to keep the economy and political systems functioning. In fact, there can’t be any equilibrium between industrial civilization and a falling population, however well managed, because inherent in the stability of any industrial economy is the need to maintain economic growth. This makes perfect sense in the context of a society that judges the hierarchical feed up of profits as “progress.”

One of the best ways to bring down the ecocidal industrial economy is to have fewer children.

Keith Farnish
Essex, United Kingdom

Population Recommendation

The human population dilemma deserves far more attention than it receives. Tom Turner’s profile of Paul and Anne Ehrlich, “The Vindication of a Public Scholar” (Summer), noted the issue’s disappearance from environmental publications, but didn’t delve into the reasons why. I hope you will consider a follow-up article on this topic.

The Ehrlichs are true environmental heroes. Over the years, they have written a number of books, all of them thoughtful and accessible to lay readers. I would recommend One with Nineveh.

Rebecca Redfield
Wilmette, Illinois

Wear One for the Planet

Kari Lydersen’s article “Border War” (Summer) nicely exposes the US environmental movement’s understandable struggle with immigration due to its “third rail” political nature. Recognition of this problem is a good first step, but an underlying cause of immigration pressure from Mexico is an even higher voltage rail that may be more difficult to withstand – Catholicism and the unsustainable birthrates that the Vatican’s archaic policies promote among the poor. Good luck with that one!

David Kay
Los Angeles, California

Number Crunching

Lydersen’s article failed to clarify the essential link between immigration and US population. That link is not race. It’s not anti-immigrant sentiments. It’s not political correctness. It’s not name-calling. The essential link is the numbers.

What level of US immigration is sustainable? What is consistent with historical immigration? What is commensurate with available energy? Water resources? Landfills? Biodiversity? Carbon emission goals?

stylized father and son looking at a 1950s-era car; words: Son, it will fall to you to see that every last one of these is destroyedJami Heinricher, The Sherwood Press. Available as notecards
at www.buyolympia.com.

According to the Population Reference Bureau, the world gains 220,000 people (births minus deaths) every day. Relaxed borders will not soften this global crisis. Offering to lend a hand from the comfort of home will no longer suffice.

Should the US restore the traditional levels of legal immigration at 250,000 rather than 1.1 million? Should the number be higher? Lower? The price of admission to the debate is this: Select a number that is sustainable, non-discriminatory, pro-immigrant, fair to the present and to the future.

In daily life we plan, schedule, and conserve based on numbers. Is there any reason to perpetuate innumeracy in immigration policy?

John F. Rohe
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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