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E-M:/ immigration and the environment

Enviro-Mich message from Dave Dempsey <davemec@voyager.net>

Perhaps those environmentalists who call for immigration restrictions would
be more credible if Americans were careful conservers rather than massive
consumers.  Our environmental problems have been exported elsewhere, to
some degree, as we gobble up resources and pollute in other nations to fuel
our consumption.

The following quote in a recent article in Atlantic Monthly sums things up
pretty well.  Let's declare a moratorium on immigration walls at least
until we address our own impact on the environment.

"William Catton, who was a sociologist at Washington State University
before his retirement, once tried to calculate the amount of energy human
beings use each day.  In hunter-gatherer times it was about 2,500 calories,
all of it food.  That is the daily energy intake of a common dolphin.  A
modern human being uses 31,000 calories a day, most of it in the form of
fossil fuel.  That is the intake of a pilot whale.   And the average
American uses six times that - as much as a sperm whale.  We have become,
in other words, different from the people we used to be.  Not kinder or
unkinder, not deeper or stupider - our nature seems to have changed little
since Homer.  We've just gotten bigger.  We appear to be the same species,
with stomachs of the same size, but we aren't.  It's as if each of us were
trailing a big Macy's-parade balloon around, feeding it constantly."

--  Bill McKibben, "A Special Moment in History," Atlantic Monthly, May 1998

Dave Dempsey
Policy Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI 48912

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