Reader's View: Overpopulation draining world’s resources
Karen Shragg’s April 19 “Statewide View” column in the News Tribune, “ Take Earth Day back from profits-hungry corporations ,” helped us reflect on the 50th Earth Day anniversary.
On Earth Day 1970, Lake Erie was on fire and I was graduating from Mankato State College and had been part of a successful petition effort for Ralph Nader’s Minnesota Public Interest Research Group to be granted a portion of student union fees. I was excited to be part of the “greening of America,” this grand effort to save everything I loved in Minnesota, the country, and the world.
Like Shragg, my values catapulted me into lifelong commitment. Also like her, I’m concerned about the commercialization of environmentalism and about U.S. population and immigration — which, in 1970, we could discuss without fear of being called “racist.” The world’s population then was 3.7 billion and has now ballooned to 7.7 billion. Guess the human-migration direction. This is not about race but about numbers.
Yes, developed countries like ours use more resources. But notice how indigenous people in developing countries face incursion into their ancestral lands and the robbing of natural resources by governments and resource-greedy corporations. A high population anywhere increases demand. There is no problem, no shortage, no issue in any country where the high population does not drive or worsen.
The current pandemic is a wakeup call about the strain on world resources.
A dedicated environmentalist said recently at a conference, “We are killing our grandchildren to feed our children.” We need to live sustainably. Karen Shragg is a messenger. We need to take back our movement, and soon.