Dear Sierra Club colleagues:
This concerns the population Ballot Initiative that appeared
on the Club's 1998 National Ballot. The issue involved the immigration
component of Sierra Club's U.S. population policy. Whatever your views
on mass immigration and the environment, please take a few minutes to read
these discussions. Why is this worthy of your time? Because many
distinguished environmentalists both in and out of the Sierra Club
support our position that U.S. population growth
is one of the most pressing environmental issues of our age. Many
committed, rank and file Sierrans agree. Some 2000 concerned people, a
great majority of those approached, signed petitions recently to put the
Club's population policy to a democratic vote of the entire membership.
There is a lot of misinformation about what the Ballot Initiative said.
The Initiative called neither for a total stoppage of immigration into
the United States nor a specific level of immigration, but simply for a
Sierra Club policy that would support lower mass immigration rates in
combination with lower birth rates so that U.S. population growth will
not be endless.
Several articles are provided here so you may better be able
to understand the important issues at stake. Environmental reasons for
slowing rapid U.S. population growth are discussed in the piece,
"Population Growth and the Environment." Some Club members, although
recognizing these detrimental impacts, still are reluctant to support
reduction of mass immigration for non-environmental reasons. Two contentions we
have encountered are (1) the charge that it is "racist" to support lower
levels of mass immigration and (2) passage of the Initiative would hurt the
Sierra Club. We are confident that both of these contentions are wrong
and we summarize the reasons in respective
articles on these topics.
In summary, with environmental knowledge comes responsibility. Someone
once said, "In the depths of history there have been instances where one
moment committed a mistake... and centuries were punished."
Your consideration of this issue may be one such moment. Slowing U.S.
population growth from all sources (including mass immigration) will yield
benefits over the long term. Failure to do so will create centuries of
problems. Your children and grandchildren will thank you for considering
this issue fully.