America’s exploding population predicament
Yes, millions of refugees worldwide desperately want to immigrate to Europe, Canada and America. Yes, they face horrific challenges in their countries. And yes, our hearts break at the wrongs in the world.
At the same time, in a recent editorial in the Boulder Weekly, you published a piece on refugee resettlement in Colorado (Re: “Immigrationspeak,” by Professor Andrew Moss, Guest Column, Oct. 3, 2019). No one in Colorado or America asked for those refugees and most dislike the cost of educating them, housing, medical and welfare care — as they lack education, language and skills. Bad? Good? In-between?
Let’s examine what Americans face if we continue immigration-driven “exponential growth” not only in Colorado but in America. First of all, America absorbs over 1 million legal immigrants annually. According to the Pew Research Center, we allow 500,000 undocumented immigrants to cross our southern border and/or overstay visas annually. That’s a whopping 1.5 million more people added annually. They, in turn, birth 900,000 babies annually. Additionally, with 330 million people living in America, we add another 1 million (net gain) ourselves, annually. That totals over 3.1 million added people to the U.S. annually.
The U.S. Census Bureau projects the U.S. jumping from 300 million in 2006 to 440 million by 2050. That’s an increase of 140 million people. Do we want that number to land on America’s future generations? Can we survive those numbers as to water, energy and resources? Can we survive the environmental onslaught as to “catastrophic climate destabilization?”
Whether it’s Colorado or other states, we cannot continue endless immigration. Colorado expects to jump from 5.7 million to over 10 million within 31 years. Can we sustain those numbers? Can we survive the gridlock and air pollution? Can I-70 take us to the mountains for skiing or camping? Will we enjoy enough water, oil and resources to maintain our standard of living and our consumption as well as waste? At this point, no one will address this issue. I’ve tried for 40 years, but to no avail.
As a six-continent world bicycle traveler, I witnessed firsthand the consequences of exponential population growth around the planet. At 1.4 billion people, China seethes with humanity and copes with unsolvable environmental degradation, while India, at 1.25 billion, limps into the 21st century with entrenched poverty, illiteracy, horrendous environmental chaos and appalling civilizational despair.
At the same time, legal and illegal immigration drive America’s population juggernaut toward 440 million people. What will that look like? Answer: With the addition of 140 million more people, net gain, we will double the populations of our 35 most populated cities. For example, New York City, at 8.3 million, will jump to 16.6 million. Los Angeles at 11 million will hit 22 million. Florida at 18 million will jump to 36 million people. Exponential population growth, much like a cancer cell, grows until it kills its host.
What does that mean for the United States? Currently, we face enormous scarcity issues with water in seven states, led off by California, Arizona and into Florida. As California adds its projected 20 million more people by mid-century — at some point no viable solutions exist. California and America face irreversible consequences with unsolvable problems.
Beyond America, the rest of the world will add 3 billion more people by 2050 according to the United Nations report on world population projections. Africa alone expects to explode from 1.1 billion today to 2 billion in 2050 and 4 billion by the end of the century. What do such enormous and unsustainable populations do? They migrate. They flood into Europe, Canada and America.
When you consider the fact that adding another 140 million people will drive us into massive carbon footprint exhaust into the biosphere — we face “catastrophic climate destabilization” on a level not known since the dinosaurs vanished.
I could present “ecological footprint,” “water footprint,” “resource footprint,” “species extinction rates” and more information that would depress the most optimistic person as to what’s headed toward their children. Because once America reaches 440 million people, everyone becomes a victim with few workable solutions.
Thus, let the American and Colorado citizens demand, with their knowledge of what’s coming, a national discussion-debate with our leaders. Let’s engage our top food, farming, resource experts, environmentalists, animal extinction experts, climate professionals and other experts who understand our predicament. They need to be interviewed on 60 Minutes, NPR, PBS and every network regularly to educate the American people. Those experts might offer solutions now before, at some point in the future, when no solutions will solve our dilemma.
In fact, by reading this commentary, what kind of a world would you like to hand over to your kids? Because if you fail to act, fail to speak up — your kids face an extremely unpleasant “Tragedy of the Commons” in their future.
Regarding The Danish Plan
Dear Paul Danish (Re: “Now playing in the Star Chamber: The impeachment of Donald Trump,” The Danish Plan, Oct. 10, 2019),
You, sir, are a ding-dong.
Junie Joseph for Boulder City Council
I like Junie Joseph. OK, it’s because she is African American; but not only that: Junie stands in the gap between homelessness and affordable housing. She supports inclusive leadership and progressive government. Junie is running for City Council. She is running in a diverse field of highly qualified candidates.
Boulder talks a great game about the value of diversity. But unless you grew up playing tennis with a Boulder voter chances are you are not getting their vote. I saw that play itself out when Angelique Espinosa ran for state delegate. And tell me what African American did you grow up playing tennis with? Exactly. So that metric affect shuts most minorities out ipso facto.
We are lucky to have two highly qualified, highly motivated African American women running for City Council this cycle. But like Coke and Pepsi, when one makes a comment it gets assigned to the both of them. I don’t know how many times, while mixing it up at Boulder dinner parties I’ve had to say, “Junie never said single family homes are racist.” In fact, I am not even sure if that was Nikki [McCord]’s point.
Junie is an international. She was born in Haiti and has had extensive travel for both for work and for pleasure. But her principles are American principles. She stands on housing for all, exclusive leadership and progressive government.
She has seen how cities the worldwide work and how they do not work for their citizens. Lucky for Boulder that she stands ready to put her knowledge to work in our community.
And she should be supported.
So I say: “Stand Too,” Boulder. Take a good look at Junie Joseph, and stop confusing her with Nikki McCord (also a very qualified candidate). Put your liberalism where your vote is. Vote Junie Joseph in the next election for City Council, Boulder’s local international.
Kenneth Flowe/via internet
Vote for sensible, sustainable development
Boulder’s Blue Line, Open Space Tax and urban growth boundary are great concepts and policies that have contained our geographical growth, protected the mountain vista and undeveloped land. However, we are simultaneously disallowing in-fill compact development. The outcome is predictable — Boulder can take in very few more people and the city becomes unaffordable to middle- and lower-income families.
I don’t think our city is “full.” Just like the United States, we can take in more people — not an unlimited number, but at least our fair share to relieve some pressure off the job and housing imbalance. Boulder’s population has been growing at an annual rate of about 0.7% in the past decade. With this rate, the city can take in fewer than 25% more people by 2050, half of what’s required to accommodate the projected 52% population growth in the state. Some argue that we should just get the jobs and people to move elsewhere in the state. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Jobs tend to be created where the talent pool is and where the connections are. As a university town where talented and well-connected people congregate, it’s an idea and job incubator. Many companies started here and the founders and early employees are reluctant to leave town. As the companies grow, they hire rank and file employees who can’t afford to live here and are forced to commute from surrounding towns.
It doesn’t have to be this way. According to a 2014 survey done by the City, half of the in-commuters are willing to live in a townhouse in Boulder. If we allow in-fill compact and sustainable development, we will be able to create more affordable housing units for some of the in-commuters. We will not only be allowing people to live close to where they work, we will also be reducing per-capita greenhouse gas emissions at the same time by cutting down the commute time and reducing materials and energy usage through smaller homes and shared walls.
Ballot Measure 2I (middle-income housing) may be able to help 100 families with $10 million of city loan. However, currently 60,000 commute to work from outside of Boulder every day. So the bill can help 0.33% of in-commuters assuming each family has two of them. It’s a drop in the bucket for what we need. The real solution for the middle-income housing problem is to allow compact and sustainable in-fill development in the city.
Please vote for Boulder Progressives candidates (Aaron Brockett, Benita Duran, Junie Joseph, Mark McIntyre and Rachel Friend) for five of the six open seats in the Boulder City Council. That will create a 5-4 (or 6-3) majority to support sensible compact and sustainable development through collaborations with the minority.
On the other hand, PLAN Boulder and others are asking people to continue voting for no/slow-growth candidates, which may result in a 9-0 no/slow growth City Council. It’ll set us back for at least another two to four years before we can take steps to address the middle-housing issue and get us off our unsustainable path of continued urban sprawl.
Felons can vote
Many people are unaware that Colorado is one of the few states where voting rights have been restored. This spring a new voting reform became law, which restores the voting rights of people on parole. A person sentenced to parole is considered to have completed their full term of imprisonment according to the state constitution. Colorado is now unique in restoration of disenfranchised citizens as voters.
When canvassing petitions, there are a number of people who claim that they cannot vote. They believe that they are blocked by laws. While they certainly have an opinion, they do not vote. This is a false assumption in Colorado.
States control voting rules, not the federal government. Colorado is different. A former felon in Kentucky needs a pardon from the governor there to vote. If that person moves to Colorado, they may register to vote and exercise that right in any election. No special permissions or paperwork is needed.
Colorado voters can be people with a past criminal conviction; people currently in jail, but awaiting trial; people on probation; people currently in jail for a misdemeanor offense only. People convicted of crimes that are not felonies have no issue with voting. They can even vote from jail. A voter with a local address who is in jail will be a simple address change for the county clerk. It is up to the voter to inform the Secretary of State as to address changes.
When the sentence of a felony conviction in Colorado comes to end, the felon may resume being a voter, or begin if they were not registered before. The sentence and obligation to the court is over and rights are restored.
If any of this information impacts you or a family member or friend, be excited about voting. Your vote could make a profound difference. There have been many close elections and your opinion mattered. Let it be counted.
Be a citizen, not a serf.
Paul Tiger/via internet