Spencer Lindquist | CCR Central Coast Vice Chair, President of Pepperdine CRs
Never ones to let a crisis go to waste, liberal politicians have been coming out in droves to point to the California wildfires as the latest catastrophes caused by climate change. Regardless of the causes of California's wildfires, one thing is certain: liberal politicians, media outlets, and intellectuals couldn’t care less about the environment. The proof? Democrat politicians give lip service to concerns of the environment when they think it’ll be politically expedient, while simultaneously advocating for policies that directly lead to environmental disaster.
Both Democrat politicians and the broader political Left have told the public that fighting climate change is a top priority, but in reality many of those who claim to be committed to environmental protection are naïve at best, and deeply disingenuous at worst. Current liberal orthodoxy is intensely self-contradictory: its adherents simultaneously claim to be staunch supporters of environmental protection while also unanimously supporting mass, unfettered immigration which inflicts devastating wounds on our country’s environment and places an unnecessary strain on our natural resources.
There’s no question, mass immigration threatens America’s environment. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) predicts that between the years 2015 and 2060, immigration will have resulted in an increase of 167 million people to the U.S. population. That’s the equivalent of adding “the combined populations of Great Britain, France, and Spain” to the U.S. population within only a 45 year time period. How can such a massive artificial population boom not have drastic environmental consequences?
Among the environmental repercussions of mass immigration is a dramatic increase in pollution. The CIS reports that immigrants residing in the U.S. produce 482 million more tons of carbon emissions per year than they would have if they had remained in their home country. While immigrants aren’t uniquely responsible for pollution, any sincere conversation on sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint must take statistics such as these into account.
Urban sprawl is yet another issue that’s intensified by immigrant driven population growth. According to the Public Library of Science, the American Southeast is projected to increase its rate of urbanization from 101% to 192% in the next 50 years. As rural land is urbanized to accommodate a growing population, viable farmlands disappear and sources of food are lost, with rural areas being forced to compete with a growing population for land and water. While the capacity to produce food here in the U.S. decreases, demand for food will grow alongside increading population, thus necessitating the importation of necessary goods, a process that entails its own environmental consequences.
It’s not just farmlands that will be crowded out by urban sprawl, however. The Center for Biological Diversity reports that animal populations, such as the Florida Panther and the San Joaquin Kit Fox, are being driven to the brink of extinction as urbanization encroaches on their natural habitats.
Those on the left who do acknowledge the environmental consequences of unsustainable population growth have uniformly rejected the sensible approach of limiting out-of-control migration and instead have pursued an aggressive anti-natalist agenda, insisting that Americans and Westerners as a whole forfeit their right to start a family.
While discussing climate change during an Instagram livestream, Democrat Rep. from New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is infamous for her proposed Green New Deal, pondered the question “Is it okay to still have children?” Clearly, Cortez fully understands that unsustainable population growth in developed countries harms the environment, yet she refuses to regulate the actual source of the dramatic population explosion.
According to a Pew Research study, 88% of the U.S.’s population growth between 2015 and 2065 will be the result of immigration. Ocasio-Cortez, who seeks to abolish I.C.E. and decriminalize illegal border crossings, doesn’t care about the havoc that mass immigration wreaks on the environment. The CDC reports that U.S. fertility rate is at an all-time low, but perhaps it’s still not low enough for AOC. Anyone who seriously wanted to address the consequences of population growth on the environment would seek to secure our border, not discourage American families from having children.
Travis Rieder is a philosopher from the Berman Institute of Bioethics at John Hopkins University, and he isn’t content with simply inquiring about the morality of having children. Instead, Rieder “...proposes that richer nations do away with tax breaks for having children and actually penalize new parents.” He continues, saying that “the penalty should be progressive, based on income, and could increase with each additional child.” Rieder doesn’t stop there, adding “Maybe we should protect our children by not having them.” While a plethora of critiques could be levied against Rieder’s drastic proposals, one may have trouble believing the claim that he isn’t serious about fighting climate change. After all, taxing childbirth is a rather severe measure. Suggesting that one should abandon the idea of having kids altogether is an even more serious idea.
In fact, it’s so serious that not even Rieder himself could live by it as he is now a proud father. One has to wonder if he’s sending the government an extra check along with his taxes every year to penalize himself for having a child or if that tax is only supposed to apply to the middle and working classes.
Just in case his ideas were to catch on among the broader public, Rieder has a plan to compensate for the population decline in the developed world; import “tens of millions of climate refugees.” Yes, you read that correctly. His plan to save the environment is to tell you to not have children in order to curb the population growth of developed countries that apparently overuse resources and then to artificially inflate the population of these very same countries by flooding them with migrants.
It’s almost as if Rieder’s plan is less of a blueprint for environmental salvation and more of a thin pretext to drown developed countries in a tidal wave of untold multitudes of migrants whose cultural and economic backgrounds may very well not be compatible with the countries that’d be taking them in.
Any legitimate plan to conserve and protect America’s environment must include an answer to the problems that are caused and exacerbated by the unsustainable, migrant-driven population growth that the Left has championed for decades. Unfortunately, it’s become apparent that the Left is willing to do anything other than choose the common sense option that could actually receive bipartisan support. Ban fracking? Sure thing. Spend as much as $93 trillion on a Green New Deal? You got it. Wage a full-scale frontal assault on the nuclear family with a tax on childbirth? We’ll see what we can do. (How’s that for “pro-women?”) But actually maintain a border? What are you, some sort of racist?
It’s worth noting that liberal politicians, academics, and talking heads haven’t merely ignored the environmental ramifications of mass immigration. Rather have sought at every turn to actively shut down the debate by slandering immigration patriots, whose policies would actually benefit America’s environmental landscape, as bigots, xenophobes, and racists among an assortment of other meaningless buzzwords.
Until liberal politicians and intellectuals reshape their environmental outlook to address the consequences of the deliberate artificial population boom that they’ve actively ushered in, we shouldn’t take their commitment to the environment seriously. It’s clear that they don’t.