A common fallacy is to equate existing and seemingly open or "unused" spaces with the kind of resources and ecologically productive land needed to support human life under modern conditions. In fact, the criterion for determining whether a region is overpopulated is not land area, but carrying capacity.
Carrying capacity refers to the number of individuals who can be supported in a given area within natural resource limits, and without degrading the natural social, cultural and economic environment for present and future generations. The carrying capacity for any given area is not fixed. It can be altered by improved technology, but mostly it is changed for the worse by pressures which accompany a population increase. As the environment is degraded, carrying capacity actually shrinks, leaving the environment no longer able to support even the number of people who could formerly have lived in the area on a sustainable basis. No population can live beyond the environment's carrying capacity for very long.
The average American's "ecological footprint" (the demands an individual endowed with average amounts of resources, ie, land, water, food, fiber, waste assimilation and disposal, etc. puts on the environment) is about 12 acres, an area far greater than that taken up by one's residence and place of school or work and other places where he or she is.
We must think in terms of "carrying capacity" not land area. The effects of unfettered population growth drastically reduce the carrying capacity in the United States.
CCN's Network Coordinator Robin Lazaro had her letter to the editor, "Immigration Dims Calif. Power" published in Investor's Business Daily.
April 27th, 2001.
Immigration Dims Calif. Power
on "Will Power Crunch This Summer Melt Down California's Economy?"
(National Issue, April 18). It was a superb job of insightful reporting
to recognize that population growth is a primary (demand-side) factor
in California's (and perhaps, soon, the nation's) energy crisis.
It is important to recognize the driving force behind
California's 13.8% population increase during the last decade and,
thus, the root cause of the unprecedented surge in energy demand that
has left, and is continuing to leave, many Californians in the dark:
In fact, between 1990-1997, mass immigration accounted for
96% of California's population growth. Across the nation, immigration
and the children born to recent immigrants accounted for over 70% of
U.S. population growth during the 1990's.
Thus, the solution to this and any other energy crisis
involves addressing the root cause: mass immigration-generated
population growth. Carrying Capacity Network believes that in order to
solve the energy and many other problems, it is essential to reduce
legal immigration from over 1 million per year to 100,000 per year and
to enforce laws against illegal immigration. Otherwise no reasonably
forseeable amount of supply-side increases will solve the energy
New ! Use FirstGov to contact your representatives in Congress, and track their records on issues vital to national sustainability:
FirstGov to search for current news on pertinent legislation:
Board of Advisors
Albert A. Bartlett
William Catton, Jr.
Marisa Hsia Chang
Edith V. Lavin
Thomas E. Lovejoy
Frank L. Morris, Sr.
Nancy Sue Pearlman
William E. Rees
Charles L. Remington