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Well said, Jack. 
Long ago, perhaps with the first growth of cities, humans began to lose an understanding of regional carrying capacity.  Or, rather, the idea that you could obtain needed resources from other areas if you had more political/economic/population  clout made regional carrying capacity seem an outmoded concept, I guess.  The result is the environmental mess we're in today.
Addressing over-population is tricky since there are always those scary people willing to write off individuals or entire groups of people as expendable.  Bio-regionalism is one way to get us back on the right track, although it will need a lot of work to recover a sense of place and keep both "ecological wisdom" and "social justice" paramount. 
The challenges of building a sustainable society in a densely populated, heavily industrialized world are daunting, but, as someone once said, "pessimism has no survival value."   

Linda Cree, Michigan's U.P.

To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2008 20:32:16 -0400
From: smileysmlc@aol.com

It's unfortunate that the MSU Land Policy Institute puts out such misleading (or erroneous) press releases.  A casual reader might infer that Michigan has been experiencing a decline in population.  That is not the case!

A key part of the release stated:

"The differences among population-attracting states and population-losing states beg two key policy questions: (1) What is the economic cost of population loss? and (2) What strategies are most effective in reversing the population losses from Michigan?"

Whether these are the most important questions regarding population is another matter, but it clearly implies that Michigan has been losing population.

Another part of the release, however, stated:

"Michigan’s population growth increased by 12 (sic) percent from 1990 to 2000, but the growth rate dropped to 1.8 percent for the 2000 to 2006 period." 

A reduced growth rate is still an INCREASE in population!  U.S. Census data indicates that Michigan had a population of 9,295,297 in 1990--and the estimate for Michigan's 2006 population exceeds 10 million!  That's up from 2.4 million in 1900.

Further, the release stated "Overall, population rapidly increased in Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Utah, but rapidly decreased in North Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas."
For t he record, NO STATE in the United States experienced a population decline from 1990 to 2000.  Granted, many counties within states experienced population declines (which is addressed in the bulletin), but the overall population of each and every state went up in those 10 years.  Although I haven't looked at all of the 2006 population estimates, to say that these states "rapidly decreased" in population is simply wrong.

The population of Michigan has doubled during my parents' lifetime, and the U.S. population has double during my short lifetime.  World population figures are even worse and it is making this planet less habitable each and every day--not to mention driving up the price of everything from gasoline to food.  The "population bomb" has been exploding for quite some time and we need to start to address it as much as we need to address (the ever so related) greenhouse gas emissions.

Jack Smiley

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