Endangered: California Living

Sarah Zepeda's picture

By Sarah Zepeda

Northern Californian Sarah Zepeda is a nursing major at Simpson University in Redding, Calif., who works as a lifeguard and piano teacher to pay for her college education. After becoming a registered nurse, she hopes to volunteer with Doctors Without Borders.

August 22, 2013

A crowded classroom in which your child is not getting the attention he needs. A dustbowl in Central Valley where there once was farmland. Lack of jobs and Southern California traffic jams. These are just some of the issues that concern many Californians. These issues that threaten our way of life seem disconnected, but all originate from overpopulation.

According to Just Schools California, part of the UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access, “One of three California students attends an overcrowded school.”

Education is obviously an area affected by overpopulation. Children’s educations are at stake because of unmanageable classroom size. UCLA/Idea also found that “California schools enroll up to five times the number of students they were built to serve.”

What are the results of this problem? One of four students in California drops out, per California Department of Education statistics. Our children are not getting the education they need due to the growing size of our population.

Water, a precious resource needed to provide for today’s generation and future generations, is being impacted by overpopulation as well. California’s water resources have been strained through the years due to faulty water storage, flawed delivery systems and extended droughts. How will the water shortage affect our California farms which produce the majority of fruits and vegetables we eat?

The water needs of farms to sustain food production will face greater competition from increased population and the development that comes with that growth. It is unrealistic to believe that we can keep growing in population at the rate we are now without exhausting this resource. Increased population translates to increased water demand.

Another issue impacted by overpopulation is employment. At the current rate of people entering the state, California cannot provide enough jobs. The California Department of Finance earlier this year released information indicating the state’s population would surpass 50 million people by 2049 (the state currently is home to an estimated 38 million people).

Presently, jobs do not exist to support the number of people already living in California. Welfare and unemployment numbers reflect this fact. Our state, with only one-eighth of the nation’s population, accounts for one-third of our nation’s welfare recipients. Increased population translates to high unemployment which leads to more welfare recipients.

What is the cause of the problem? As many Californians know, immigration has been cited as the main cause for overpopulation in California. California is home to more than 10 million immigrants. A favored solution among those who understand the issue is to enforce our immigration laws and develop a population policy for the country based on sustainable numbers.

How can you help? There are many ways. Write a letter to state legislators asking that they support a sustainable population and immigration policies that match that. Support organizations such as Californians for Population Stabilization that tackle the problem of overpopulation, and talk to your friends about the issue.

We can no longer afford to stand by in apathy and watch as California slowly brings up the rear in education, depletes its water resources and increases its welfare recipients. This issue cannot be ignored if we want to preserve the type of lifestyle for which California has been known.

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