Sierra Club Betrays American Environment…Again

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By Leon Kolankiewicz

Leon is an Advisory Board Member and Senior Writing Fellow with CAPS. A wildlife biologist, and environmental scientist and planner, Leon is the author of Where Salmon Come to Die: An Autumn on Alaska's Raincoast, the essay “Overpopulation versus Biodiversity” in Environment and Society: A Reader and was a contributing writer to Life on the Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation.

In a career that spans three decades, three countries and more than 30 states, Leon has managed environmental impact statements for many federal agencies on projects ranging from dams and reservoirs to coal-fired power plants, power lines, flood control projects, road expansions, management of Civil War battlefields, NASA's Kennedy Space Center operations and a proposed uranium mine on a national forest. He also has worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop comprehensive conservation plans at more than 40 national wildlife refuges from the Caribbean to Alaska.

The writer's views are his own.

May 2, 2013

The Sierra Club has once again betrayed the United States' environment which it was founded to protect. As reported in Politico, and later on the club’s website, on April 24, the Board of Directors voted to support "comprehensive immigration reform,"  the euphemism for providing amnesty to an estimated 11-12 million illegal immigrants and vastly increasing levels of future legal immigration. [Sierra Club Backs Immigration Reform, by Anna Palmer and Darren Samuelsohn, Politico, April 24, 2013]

The Obama Administration and the Senate “Gang of Eight” would deal with current and future illegal immigration by welcoming the world. According to Sen. Marco Rubio, speaking in Spanish on Univision, millions who want to move to the U.S., would now be eligible to do so legally, mostly without fear of persecution.

In other words, America’s demographic future – and whether or not it becomes even  more overpopulated and environmentally overloaded than it already is – would be controlled by non-Americans and with our federal government's encouragement.

It is anathema for many of us to reward 11 million scofflaws with a “pathway to citizenship.” These, after all, are the same people who trampled America’s national sovereignty as they traipsed across the border or who reneged on the terms of their visa that the U.S. was generous enough to grant them. They refused to recognize U.S. sovereignty, but the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Modernization Act, S.744, would recognize and reward them for their audacity.  It's a steal of a deal.

Yet in terms of our demographic destiny – and our environment – amnesty for 11 million or more aliens, as bad as it is, is the less significant item. For if S.744 passes, it would ensure that America is inundated with many millions more, all legal, by the end of this century.

According to philosophy professor Philip Cafaro, president of Progressives for Immigration Reform, we don’t know exactly how much S. 744 would increase annual immigration, though various accounts have said it could augment it by about 500,000 to one million annually.  If we assume the current annual immigration rate is 1.25 million, and increase that by one million to 2.25 million, U.S. population in 2100 would jump from 524 million to 669 million, as shown in the chart below.  That difference of 145 million is equal to the entire population of the United States in about 1948.

Credit:  Phil Cafaro, Progressives for Immigration Reform

This is the future the morally-bankrupt and environmentally-challenged Sierra Club Board has endorsed for the United States.  This is the same organization that once accepted $100 million from philanthropist David Gelbaum who conditioned his donation on the Sierra Club agreeing to never support lower immigration levels.  Bought and paid for.

The On-Line Dictionary describes as bribe as:  “Something, such as money or a favor, offered or given to a person in a position of trust to influence that person's views or conduct.” Sounds like it fits to me.

Not content to be bribed, in the late nineties and early 2000s, the board and its then executive director Carl Pope demonized and persecuted club dissidents known as Support U.S. Population Stabilization (SUSPS) that formed in 1996 to try to persuade the organization to return to its earlier population sanity.

What did this earlier population sanity consist of? Here’s a sample:

  •  In 1968, the Sierra Club published Paul Ehrlich’s sensational and best-selling book The Population Bomb, which warned of imminent famine and ecological
  • catastrophe unless population growth was curtailed around the world.  In so doing, it gave birth to the modern population movement.
  •  In 1969, the Club urged its fellow Americans “to abandon population growth as a pattern and goal; to commit themselves to limit the total population of the United States in order to achieve a balance between population and resources; and to achieve a stable population no later than the year 1990.”
  • In the 1970s, the Sierra Club urged the federal government to conduct a thorough examination of U.S. immigration policies and their impact on U.S. population trends and how those trends affected the nation’s environmental resources.
  •  In 1980, the Club testified before Father Theodore Hesburgh’s SelectCommittee on Immigration and Refugee Reform (established by the Carter Administration): “It is obvious that the numbers of immigrants the United States accepts affects our population size and growth rate.  It is perhaps less well known the extent to which immigration policy, even more than the number of children per family, is the determinant of future numbers of Americans.”
  •  In 1989, the Club’s National Population Committee stated that “immigration to the U.S. should be no greater than that which will permit achievement of population stabilization in the U.S,” a policy confirmed by the Club’s Conservation Coordinating Committee.

Then, in 1996, in a dramatic turnabout, Sierra Club Board abandoned environmental correctness for political correctness. In a clear and ominous sign of the growing clout of mass immigration and its advocates, the board voted to “take no position on immigration levels or on policies governing immigration into the United States.”

Ironically, the Club’s recent April 24 vote violates the egregious 1996 policy, but not in the way proponents intended. Those proponents wanted to gag anyone speaking in the club’s name from advocating lower immigration. The current board and executive director Michael Brune didn't feel constrained by the policy from advocating higher immigration levels.

With the April 24 vote, the Sierra Club leadership has not just ignored overpopulation and over-immigration as they did back in 1996, but actively solicited them. This is high treason to fundamental environmental and scientific principles.

In 1979, I was a frugal, if not impoverished, University of British Columbia graduate student, surviving on $3,000 a year and camping out in the forest beside campus – squatting, in essence – to avoid having to pay rent but also because I loved sleeping under the trees. Somehow, that same year, I scrounged up and shelled out $750 to join the Sierra Club as a Life Member.I never thought I would live to regret it, but I have, and bitterly.

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