The Lost Colony was established approximately 12,000 years after humans first entered North America from Asia via a land bridge across the Bering Strait. As in Australia and Madagascar, extinction followed the dispersal of humans across North and South America. Among the losses were most of the megafauna, from elephants to giant ground sloths, and many endemic species of the Caribbean islands, including giant flightless owls. Species that were able to adapt to the presence of the skilled hunters and the fires they introduced continued to prosper, and the east coast of North Carolina must have remained for the most part a wilderness of pine and hardwood forests, cypress swamps and freshwater marshes when the English settlers arrived at Roanoke Island in 1587.
After 425 years of increasingly sophisticated disturbance, no habitat remains in its original state in eastern North Carolina. A few areas have recovered from earlier settlement, however, though without all of the original fauna, such as Carolina Parakeets. The preservation of such patches of original America are now threatened by the world human population boom that recently has spread to the United States with massive immigration.
In the postwar years, those of us with an interest in natural history stood by helplessly as our favorite woods were cut, fields built upon and waters dammed and polluted, under the onslaught of human population growth promoted by virtually all politicians. Finally, in the 1960s, to the consternation of the pols, it appeared that zero domestic population growth would be achieved through the individual decisions of millions of Americans. That was not allowed to happen.
Liberal Democrats had sought for years to expand immigration for quite a rational reason - immigrants tended to vote for their candidates, whereas native Americans increasingly did not. Turning to my collection of Herblock books, I found editorial cartoons supporting increased immigration from the 1950s, when most people weren`t giving it a thought. There was sufficient resistance in Congress to prevent liberalization until the unexpected happened - the Republicans nominated a candidate for President, Barry Goldwater, who spoke casually about dropping nuclear bombs on Vietnam. The Goldwater reverse landslide of 1964 produced a lopsided Democratic majority in Congress, and they promptly passed the Immigration Act which Peter Brimelow has dissected in his book Alien Nation. (Instead of using nuclear weapons, the U.S. sprayed terrible, chemical defoliants on Vietnam that still poison the land and people.)
Now, after thirty years of massive immigration, legal and illegal, Americans are increasingly recognizing the adverse effects of international and domestic human overpopulation and environmental degradation. They commute on packed freeways. Airports and flights are congested. New buildings go up on space that always had been open. Familiar native wildlife vanishes, to be replaced by a few species of urban survivors. Farms and suburban lawns treated repeatedly with a cocktail of poisons approach the toxicity of Superfund sites. Immigrants pour into communities from Mount Kisco to Mountain View, leading long-time residents to move to maintain their quality of life.
The most prominent conservative leaders applaud these changes. Over the years I can`t recall any public works project opposed by environmentalists that wasn`t championed by the Wall Street Journal`s editorial page. "Overpopulation fears fading fast", declares the headline of a narrow-minded, front-page article in Investor`s Business Daily. (November 28, 1999).
These are views that have come historically from the left. Subsidized destruction of natural resources to create "jobs" has been a touchstone of the Soviet Union, the New Deal, and the World Bank. Moreover, it was the left who championed liberalization of immigration and opposed all efforts to link welfare benefits to birth control. Conversely, the one "environmental" U.S. President was a Republican, Theodore Roosevelt. Never before or since has there been a President interested in or capable of keeping a bird list for the White House grounds, who went on expeditions to South America and Africa to observe wildlife, and who believed passionately in the preservation of wild places.
Unfortunately, the conservative leadership have incorporated the left`s historic insistence upon growth at any cost into their dogma, insisting that there are no foreseeable limits. Since they place no value whatsoever on animal and plant species without immediate, measurable monetary value, the ongoing, worldwide mass extinction of non-human species is of no concern. While mouthing platitudes about government waste [name one wasteful program or agency eliminated by the Republican Congress], they support nearly all plans for subsidized highways, dams, and nuclear power plants and the below cost sale to extractive interests of the bits of remaining wilderness owned by the federal government. Among their top priorities are reversing or limiting American women`s right to choose to have abortions and eliminating aid for international population control projects.
Yet despite their prominence on the television and radio talk shows and in the established press, the conservative spokesmen seem to have made little headway in gaining popular support for a crusade against the environment. To their credit, they for the most part support ballot initiatives, in which measures characterized as "pro-environment" have fared well. For example, recent referenda to criminalize certain abortion procedures failed decisively in Washington, Colorado and Maine, suggesting that anti-abortion laws would lose almost everywhere if put to a popular vote. Californians voted overwhelmingly for Proposition 187, which would have eliminated benefits to illegal aliens, but it was effectively repealed by the actions of a liberal federal district judge. Environmental bond issues have passed in a number of states, even though, as in New York, bond issues for traditional spending programs sometimes have been misrepresented as "environmental" to win voter approval. Furthermore, public opinion polls reflect strong popular support for preservation of wilderness, for cleaning up and curtailing pollution, and for severely restricting immigration.
Though Peter Brimelow never has represented himself to be an environmentalist, his proposals to reform immigration would have a profound, positive environmental impact in the U.S. and abroad -- greater than anything being accomplished by the well-funded Beltway environmental groups. Had a time-out from immigration been implemented when first proposed by Peter in 1992, the population of the U.S. would be approximately 10 Million less than it is today - about the equivalent of a second Los Angeles metropolitan area! Furthermore, U.S. immigration reform would be beneficial in the long run to the immigrants` native countries. With the U.S. acting as an escape hatch for excessive population, those countries have been able to delay taking steps to deal with the overpopulation crisis while continuing to grow irresponsibly and destroy irreplaceable natural resources.
The next time you read about an environmental group conferring an award upon a citizen for some well-meaning, but de minimus effort (e.g., recycling newspapers, cleaning oiled seabirds), consider whether the award might better have been conferred upon Peter Brimelow, whose sensible proposals would have a vastly greater, positive environmental impact than the best efforts of all the local activists combined.