How the Left Abandoned the Environment: Immigration

Click here to read How the Left Abandoned the Environment: Climate Change

Once upon a time, the Left cared about the environment and pushed policies that would actually help make America and the world cleaner and safer. Now they’ve sold out to global and corporate interests, and have abandoned any policies that would help the Mother Earth they claim to care so much about. 

More than two decades ago, in the December 1994 Wild Forest Review, Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair recognized a trend that’s just gotten worse today:

The mainstream environmental movement was elitist, highly paid, detached from the people, indifferent to the working class, and a firm ally of big government. . . . The environmental movement is now accurately perceived as just another well-financed and cynical special interest group, its rancid infrastructure supported by Democratic Party operatives and millions in grants from corporate foundations.

Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus wrote in their essay “The Death of Environmentalism”:

Today environmentalism is just another special interest. Evidence for this can be found in its concepts, its proposals, and its reasoning. What stands out is how arbitrary environmental leaders are about what gets counted and what doesn’t as ‘environmental.’ Most of the movement’s leading thinkers, funders, and advocates do not question their most basic assumptions about who we are, what we stand for, and what it is that we should be doing.

There are three primary ways the globalist, corporative environmental movement abandoned their mission: their support for immigration, their fixation on climate change, and not focusing on veganism as an easy solution. 

Immigration: More Americans = Disaster for the Environment

The most notable Leftist group that sold out environmentalism for corporate money is the Sierra Club. Founded in 1892 by preservationist John Muir, it’s become one of the most powerful environmental lobbies.

In 1969, the Sierra Club published Paul R. Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb, which was written at their suggestion and advocated bringing the growth rate of the human population to zero to curb environmental decline. The U.S. has a greater burden to reduce its population than other countries, Ehrlich said, because of the vast amount of resources Americans consume compared to the rest of the world. Some of Ehrlich’s suggestions included offering incentives for sterilization, prenatal sex screening (since families often continue having children until a boy is born), and limiting foreign food aid to countries with sufficient programs to control their population growth. Today these ideas would be called racist and sexist. 

“It is obvious,” the Sierra Club said in 1980, “that the numbers of immigrants the United States accepts affects our population size and growth rate,” even more than “the number of children per family.” At the time, and through most of the 1990s, the Sierra Club supported limiting immigration to the U.S. The logic is sound: Americans purchase and discard immense amounts of goods, eat vast quantities of pollution-causing meat, use carbon monoxide-emitting cars and planes, produce tons of trash, build houses requiring loads of resources, and Americans use more water than people in any other country.

Then the Sierra Club received a $100 million donation from hedge fund billionaire David Gelbaum who told the Los Angeles Times, “if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me.”

The Sierra Club never said another word against immigration. As Ann Coulter noted in Adios, America, they instead mounted a campaign to label board members still against immigration as racist and white supremacists. The SPLC’s Morris Dees even got involved. By 2012, Coulter said, “Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune announced that the Club officially supported mass immigration—amnesty, no borders, more legal immigration, the whole nine yards.” It’s obvious the Sierra Club sold out for money. Today’s totalitarian Left now insists that liberals agree with every one of their platform issues, especially being pro-immigration. The corruption has even filtered down to the fake environmentalist Green Party. 

America Is More Than Full

“Carrying capacity” refers to the number of people a region can sustainably support without degrading the environment. As most liberals will admit, Americans use way too many resources for their share of the earth’s land. In fact, the U.S. has the largest ecological footprint in the world. 

The carrying capacity for the U.S. is 200 million—with the current population at 319 million. By 2050, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the nation’s population will be 439 million—more than double its carrying capacity. Yet the Left won’t give up its sophistic arguments for increasing the U.S. population. 

The U.S. takes in roughly 1 million immigrants a year. The top countries of origin for immigrants are Mexico, India, China, the Philippines, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, South Korea, El Salvador, and Iraq, based on 2013-2014 data—all countries with much lower resource use than the U.S. And these immigration numbers don’t even include asylum seekers, refugees, and illegal aliens. Another important aspect to consider is that these populations have many more children than the average native-born American, which further increases the country’s population track. 

The Left admits that these immigrants move to the U.S. to improve their standard of living. But try engaging any of them in a conversation about immigration’s negative impact on the environment, and you’ll be met with cries of “racism” and accusations that the white man is just trying to keep all of his inventions for himself. Isn’t it strange how they’ll say that Westerners need to have fewer children to help the environment, but think it’s racist to want fewer immigrants, especially those from populations with high birth rates?   

According to one paper, an immigrant from Vietnam to America will increase his energy consumption 9249 percent. An immigrant from India will increase his CFC production 11,025 percent. An immigrant from the Philippines will increase his car usage 7700 percent; from India, 32,350 percent. 

Yet there is no slowing down. Although immigration generated just over half of U.S. population growth in the last 50 years, immigration will be responsible for 75 percent of U.S. population growth in the next 50 years.

All this means that “past gains in efficiency and protection have been largely canceled out by population growth,” according to the September 2016 report “U.S. Immigration and the Environment” by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). 

Former Wisconsin Governor Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day, said “it’s phony to say ‘I’m for the environment but not for limiting immigration.'” Dave Foreman, co-founder of Earth First! said, “Those environmentalists who think we can double or triple U.S. population without wiping out wildlife and scalping our last wildernesses, are living in a fool’s paradise.” Bringing in more non-Westerners—who dramatically increase their consumption when they arrive in America—hurts the environment. If the Left really cared about the environment rather than just virtue-signaling, they’d be pushing for more people to return to third-world levels of consumption, not the other way around. 

Click here to read How the Left Abandoned the Environment: Climate Change