What impact does US immigration policy have on greenhouse gas emissions, habitat preservation, or water and air pollution? Episode six of The Population Factor on Earthx TV addresses these questions, while episode seven, the final episode of season one, discusses how declining human populations open up new opportunities for ecological restoration.
by The Overpopulation Project
The US National Environmental Protection Act of 1969 requires that any federal program, policy, or project that might entail significant environmental impacts undergo an Environmental Impact Statement. Almost since NEPA’s enactment, some environmentalists have argued that this requirement should be applied to U.S. immigration policy. NEPA itself acknowledges the importance of population growth, stating at the outset that Congress recognizes “the profound influences of population growth” on the natural environment.
In Episode 6 of The Population Factor, host Phil Cafaro interviews Leon Kolankiewicz, the primary author of a recent Environmental Impact Statement on US Immigration Policy. They discuss the impact immigration policy will have on future US population numbers, raising or lowering them by tens of millions of people, and the role human numbers play in a wide variety of environmental challenges, from air and water pollution to sprawl and biodiversity loss.
When human populations decrease, more land can be restored to benefit wildlife. TOP has documented this effect for a number of rewilding projects in Europe, but the biodiversity benefits of smaller human populations have proven themselves around the world. In the final episode of season one of The Population Factor, long-time wildlands activist Tom Butler discusses how fewer people can lead to more wild nature.
After many years as Vice President for Conservation Advocacy at the Foundation for Deep Ecology and Tompkins Conservation, Tom Butler currently works at the Northeast Wilderness Trust. Among other topics, Phil and Tom discuss how taking land out of production agriculture at Argentina’s Iberá National Park facilitated the return of anteaters, giant river otters, scarlet macaws and jaguars to the region.
Enjoy the shows and stay tuned for season two of The Population Factor!