Ian Smith, Daily Caller, April 22, 2016
Forty-six years ago today, America held it’s very first Earth Day, an event credited with the birth of the modern environmental movement. The annual observance was intended by the day’s founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, as a time to contemplate our natural world and to encourage efforts to conserve and protect it. Compared to today’s environmental establishment groups, however, Nelson had a more mature understanding of what environmental sustainability really is.
Central to the theme of Earth Day, the late senator once wrote, was “the understanding that U.S. population growth was a joint partner in the degradation of our nation’s environmental resources.” Like many early environmental advocates, Nelson appreciated that population growth and environmental stability were intrinsically intertwined. With America’s immigration intake representing 80 percent of its population growth-rate, groups like the Sierra Club had actually once been the biggest advocates for tighter immigration controls. But forty-six years on, those groups are now silent.
Ten years ago when the U.S. population hit 300 million (it was only 200 million on the first Earth Day), the Center for Environment and Population warned, “The nation’s relatively high rate of population growth, natural resource consumption and pollution combine to create the largest environmental impact, felt both within the nation and around the world.” On our consumption-levels and its global effects, today’s environmental groups are always quick to remind that despite having only 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. uses 20 percent of its energy, 30 percent of its paper and aluminum, 40 percent of its cars, etc. If the Third World were to adopt a middle-class American lifestyle, they lecture, we’d need many more planets.
Groups like the Sierra Club still push for population stabilization through family planning initiatives, but they’ve completely changed their position on immigration. In the early eighties, in testimony before the blue-ribbon Hesburgh Commission on immigration, representatives of the Sierra Club stated that “immigration to the U.S. should be no greater than that which will permit achievement of population stabilization in the U.S.” Fast-forward to 2013, however, and you have the group endorsing the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill on the hopelessly naive ground that illegal aliens ‘can’t advocate for clean energy while under the threat of deportation.’
Former disgruntled Sierra Club members that I know say everything changed in 1996. Apparently showing just how “green” the modern environmental movement’s become, Sierra Club leaders were offered a donation of 100 million dollars from Wall Street hedge-fund manager David Gelbaum on the condition that they totally abandon the immigration issue. They dutifully complied. And being a major movement-bellwether, other groups soon followed suit.