WASHINGTON -- Once upon a time many years ago, there was an Earth Day.
It was a beautiful day, filled with hopeful dreams that the human environment
would be saved by men and women who would, of their own will, control their
reckless consumption and procreation and thus keep all of life's needs in beautiful balance.
That was then -- 1970, to be exact.
Today, not only has the U.S. population swelled from 205 million then to 268 million now,
but the leading American organizations that valiantly led the "population stabilization"
fight in 1970 are in the throes of perverse political pressures to pretend population has
nothing to do with saving the environment which sustains that population.
This inner struggle in the environmental movement -- this urgent warning for the 21st century
-- is nowhere more clear than in the Sierra Club. There, new leaders espousing not environmental
salvation but "environmental justice" are locked in a to-the-death conflict over the future
of the environmental mission, which is coming to a denouement this spring.
Historically, you see, the policy of the 105-year-old Sierra Club (the oldest and most respected
of the environmental groups) could not have been more clear: For decades, the club has espoused
policies calling for population stabilization as a crucial element in environmental stabilization.
This reasonable position, not really daring because it should seem so obvious, was strongly
supported by the two major population commissions: the President's Commission on Population
Growth and the American Future, headed by John D. Rockefeller III, and the Select Commission
on Population, headed by Father Theodore Hesburgh, the president of the University of Notre
Dame. Both also said clearly that immigration rates must be made to respect this "demographic
Yet, by 1996, a new board had taken over the Sierra Club, made up of new-style activists whose
aim was not to preserve the Yosemites of America (founder John Muir's original dream 105 years
ago), but to placate Latino and other ethnic groups who want essentially unlimited immigration.
Note: This group calls itself the "Environmental Justice Committee." Now, wait a minute!
Environmental JUSTICE Committee? Do toads and turtles go to court? Do raccoons and grizzly
bears have lawyers that argue before the Supreme Court? Do our polluted lakes and once clear
streams themselves now fall back on the First Amendment when nobody in our society speaks
No. The word "justice," a concept that is wholly intellectual and moral, devised through
centuries of human religious and social history, has nothing even remotely to do with the
environment. There, we are dealing with cold, ruthless science, whose only supreme court
is to be found in the acts of men like John Muir to deliberately save our air, water and
animal life through scientific husbandry.
In saying that it wants immigration concerns dropped as a prerequisite for maintaining a
sustainable environment, the present Sierra Club board activists are really talking about
something other than preservation. They not only are talking about keeping ties with their
"allies" in the organized Latino communities, but are also talking about the United States
as the left's "relief valve" from the massive overpopulation of much of the rest of the world.
Limiting U.S. immigration, Carl Pope, the club's executive director, has said revealingly,
amounts to little more than "moving (pieces) around a chessboard ..."
But that's exactly what the pro-immigration activists want. They want to move those humans
around THEIR chessboard the way they like it to be. Their organized Latino allies, meanwhile,
have their own agenda: They want more members.
If you look at America's scientific figures, there is no question what is at stake. High
immigration and birth rates are driving the United States to record high population levels.
Already, 40 percent of America's lakes and streams are too polluted to swim in, the U.S. is
running out of oil, America's precious national parks are packed with 16 times the visitors
they had in 1940, etc.
So, as ballots are already going out to the club's 550,000 members, there is only one way
that environmentally concerned members can vote: for "Alternate A," which would once again
place the prestigious Sierra Club on the scientific road to preservation by including the
As for the others, why don't they just stop pretending that they are in the preservation
business? They should come clean and say that all they really care about is the politicization
and thus the eventual destruction of the entire environmental movement.