The Environmental Movement’s Retreat From
Advocating U.S. Population Stabilization (1970-1998):
A First Draft of History
Roy Beck and Leon Kolankiewicz
"Causes 3 & 4"
Cause #3: Emergence of Women’s Issues as Priority Concern of Population Groups
Cause #4: Schism between the Conservationist and New-Left Roots of the Movement
Cause #3: Emergence of Women’s Issues as
Priority Concern of Population Groups
Another reason environmental groups did not fully engage U.S. population issues in the 1980s and 1990s was that the groups that specialized in population issues drifted away from population stabilization and environmental protection as primary reasons for being. Those groups had played key roles in the 1970 era by prodding the environmental groups to join them and by doing the bulk of the research that was used by the environmentalists. Except for the small groups Negative Population Growth, Population Environment Balance, and Carrying Capacity Network (founded in 1989), however, that role ended by the 1990s.
By the 1990s, for example, Planned Parenthood no longer played a significant role in advocating for U.S. population stabilization to protect the environment. Its focus had narrowed to making sure that women had full access to the whole range of options concerning fertility and births. That had always been a primary mission of Planned Parenthood, but one of the major purposes of empowering women had once been to reduce U.S. population growth.
Another prime example was Zero Population Growth, which did not totally abandon interest in population size, but nevertheless excised "stabilization" from its mission for the United States in the 1990s, as it promoted an agenda focused on women’s issues and international access to birth control.
To understand these shifts, historians will need to look at the differing roots of the 1970-era population movement. While one root included people with high environmental consciousness, several roots did not. Many of the early population leaders were primarily concerned about health issues, others about development issues. Still others were predecessors of the modern feminist movement. The environmentalist angle tended to be pushed out front during the late 1960s as environmentalism reached mass popularity. But as environmentalists abandoned population issues in the 1970s, the population groups more and more de-emphasized their environmental motives as they increased their attention to women’s issues. By the 1990s, some of the groups actually opposed helping the environment through population stabilization or reduction efforts. Christian Science Monitor correspondent George Moffett observed: "Women’s groups complain that overstating the consequences of rapid population growth has created a crisis atmosphere in some countries, which has led to human rights violations in the name of controlling fertility."61
For population groups to focus on women’s empowerment did not necessarily work against stabilization efforts. But there were already women’s emphasis groups, and the shift of focus of population groups left the country with virtually no major voices explicitly calling for stabilization.
The most striking evidence of population groups’ declining emphasis on numerical goals occurred at the 1994 U.N. International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt. As Catholic lay theologian George Wiegel observed, "Over the long haul...the most significant development at the Cairo Conference may have been a shift in controlling paradigms: from ‘population control’ to ‘the empowerment of women.’"62 Previous U.N. population conferences in 1974 and 1984, although not without controversy, had focused on population growth itself and the need and means to tame it. At Cairo, non-profit organizations (NGOs) from the United States, dominated by feminists like former New York congresswoman Bella Abzug, were part of a lobby that prevented the Cairo conference from setting any numerical targets or even stating that population growth should be stopped.63 One NGO, called the International Women’s Health Coalition, circulated a declaration at Cairo stating that a woman had the absolute right to have the number of children she wanted.64 "The Cairo Programme contains hundreds of recommendations about women’s rights and other social issues but almost none about population," wrote former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Environment and Population Affairs Lindsey Grant.65
The conferees thus gave short shrift to the concerns of eminent scientists and environmentalists, like Nobel Prize laureate and MIT physics professor Henry W. Kendall, the legendary oceanographer and documentary filmmaker Jacques Cousteau, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Academy, and the more than 1,600 prominent scientists who signed the "World Scientists Warning to Humanity." All of them had advised on the urgency of stopping population growth. Yet these appeals fell largely on deaf ears. One observer identified five interest groups represented at Cairo: the population concerned community, the market preference community, the distribution community, the women’s initiatives community, and the Vatican. Of these, only one (the population concerned community) even wanted to draw attention to the problems of population growth.66
Now centered in a feminist rather than environmental mission, many
population, family planning, and women’s groups would support no talk of
stopping growth or reducing average family size because that implied
restrictions on what they considered a universal right of women to choose their
number of children entirely free of the merest hint of official or informal
pressure. Women’s-issues advocates ensured that the results of the conference
were primarily about the empowerment and well-being of women, not the size of
populations around the world. The stance was this: If there was a problem with
population size or growth rates, it would be resolved by giving women more
education, health care, legal rights, employment opportunities and readier
access to contraceptives. Women should be left alone to decide on the size of
their families, without any national or international direction as to what size
would be best for society.
Lindsey Grant has observed the transformation of population groups for decades. He says the Cairo fight exposed an old fault line between those primarily interested in making contraceptives available to help people limit their contribution to population growth and those wanting to make them available to give women more liberty and power.
The two goals are not mutually exclusive. As homemakers and housewives, women in particular bear the brunt of large families.67 Furthermore, commentators add, reducing population growth nearly always should improve the quality of life for society as a whole by freeing up scarce time, labor, capital, and resources. The surplus can then be redirected into capital formation, education, resource conservation, infrastructure, and the like.68 Stabilization advocates often cite the fact that no nation has moved out of its poverty without many years of declining population growth.69 Asian countries like Japan, Korea, Singapore and China are prime examples. On the other side, empowering women (especially through enhanced economic opportunities) usually helps them avoid unwanted pregnancies and to desire smaller families.70 Experience shows, however, that without strong societal education and encouragement, the desired smaller families are often more than two children —sometimes substantially more— in which case population growth does not cease. Stabilization advocates at Cairo demanded that women’s empowerment include strong recommendations that they limit their family size to two children.
The "liberty" side of the movement triumphed over the "limits" advocates, Grant concluded. In the final international agreement for action, nowhere was it said that population growth should stop. Nowhere were growing countries urged to give a higher priority to slowing or stopping population growth. Governmental incentives for reducing fertility were rejected as too coercive toward women.71 While the Vatican received the most media publicity for its efforts to keep the Cairo conference from establishing population goals, the feminist groups ended up working as if hand-in-glove with the Vatican to ensure that result.72 The feminist groups defeated the Vatican, however, on the issue of making contraceptives more widely available. Even then, they changed funding recommendations to put less emphasis on contraceptives than had been requested by international experts. Those experts had told the conference that $17 billion a year was needed just to provide contraceptives to more than 100 million women who wanted them but could not afford them. The final Cairo decision was to put only $6 billion of that into contraceptives and the rest into other health projects.73 An Indonesian delegate summarized the shift in dominant perspectives: "We have stopped calling women the receptors of contraceptives. We now call them agents of change."74
Perhaps the clearest sign that many population groups had divorced themselves from the environmental movement was that the long international document from Cairo made no mention of the connections between population growth and the environmental ills of countries with growing populations: deforestation, land degradation, flooding, desertification, wild species decline and extinction, water scarcity and pollution, horrendous urban air quality, and chaotic urban growth, among others.
While many in the non-profit population movement effectively de-linked themselves from environmental concerns, many environmental groups adopted those same de-linked population goals. By way of example, the population program at one of the nation’s largest environmental groups —the National Wildlife Federation (NWF)— became focused largely on promoting the Cairo action plan of advancing women’s rights rather than stopping growth for environmental reasons. An interview with NWF staff convinced one observer that female empowerment had become an end unto itself rather than a means to reduced family size, population stability, and environmental conservation —green images and verbiage on the NWF population program’s Internet web page notwithstanding.75
What is the problem with this, one might ask, if empowerment of women does in fact lead to reduced fertility? There are three problems with substituting the means for the end on this issue. One is that, given the reality of scarce financial resources, diverting already inadequate funds from contraceptives and into other women’s issues means fewer dollars for birth control in a world where more than 100 million women (according the U.N.’s World Fertility Survey) say they would like to stop having more children but lack the means. Worldwide, 30 years after international family planning programs were launched, 40% of married women still do not use contraceptives.76 The Washington based Population Institute stresses that: "Fertility declines in all regions of the world once again prove that economic prosperity is not an essential precursor to population stabilization. Most of the countries that have achieved replacement-level or near-replacement-level fertility in the recent past have been less developed ones. The common denominator among them is increased awareness and use of contraception."77
Second, frequent births, large families and rampant population growth themselves hinder the emancipation of women toward educational and employment opportunities. By the time women have achieved a social status acceptable to their advocates, populations may well have doubled, tripled, or quadrupled. Moreover, as anthropologist Virginia Abernethy points out, higher educational attainment (to cite one favored goal) is not a guarantee of reduced fertility. "In some parts of Africa, even highly educated women who are unemployed or marginally employed continue to bear many children," she writes.78 Abernethy also marshals compelling evidence questioning the comfortable assumptions of the popular "benign demographic transition" theory that has dominated professional demography and international development assistance efforts for decades.
This theory holds that birth rates will come down of their own accord as societies develop. "Development is the best contraceptive," went the mantra at the first U.N. conference on population in Bucharest in 1974. Abernethy argues persuasively that signs of opportunity or prosperity —such as better child survival, land redistribution programs, political revolutions, indiscriminate foreign aid, opportunities to emigrate, and income increases— instead of reducing fertility, actually tend to raise it. America’s own baby boom during the booming post-World War II period is one prominent example of this phenomenon.
A third problem, as Lindsey Grant comments, is that "there is no justification for the assumption that free choice will, unguided, lead to the socially desirable level of fertility [i.e. replacement level or below]. It is myth masquerading as truth."79 Even though fertility in developing nations has been cut in half over the last three years, it still averages 3 children per female,80 50% above replacement level, and in some countries the decline may have "stalled." The preferred number of children in most developing regions, especially Africa, far exceeds the replacement level. Given the great variety of cultures in the world, it is simply unrealistic to assume that women everywhere will choose to follow the fertility patterns of European, North American and some Asian women.
This shift away from an overriding concern with population and environmental limits may be seen most importantly in the group Zero Population Growth (ZPG). In 1968, the Sierra Club published Paul Ehrlich’s sensational book The Population Bomb, which warned tersely of imminent famine and ecological catastrophe unless population growth was halted around the world. Population stabilization was ignited into a national movement and helped awaken most environmental groups and activists to the threat of unchecked population growth. Zero Population Growth was founded that same year to take advantage of the incredible publicity the book generated. Professor Ehrlich appeared on Johnny Carson’s show many times. Each time he appeared, ZPG got phone calls or letters from twenty to thirty thousand people.81
Hundreds of ZPG chapters sprang up overnight. ZPG’s first leaders were described as all being pro-environmentalist, pro-choice, and pro-family planning. In the beginning, ZPG had a motto, "Zero Population Growth is our name and our mission."
There were several large organizations dealing with population growth in other countries. But ZPG’s primary mission was explicitly to stabilize the U.S. population, according to members of the early ZPG boards of directors.82 That remained the stated mission through the 1980s.
In the 1970s, ZPG’s population policy recommendations covered every contribution to U.S. population growth. It included stands on contraceptives, sex education for teenagers, equality for women, abortion, opposition to illegal immigration, and proposals to reduce legal immigration from about 400,000 a year to 150,000 a year by 1985 in order to reach zero population growth by 2008.83
ZPG started the modern immigration-reduction movement in the 1970s. After American fertility fell below replacement level, the ZPG board recognized that immigration was rising rapidly and would soon negate all the benefits of lower fertility.
Even though immigration seemed separate from the family planning issues that had dominated precursor population organizations, ZPG tackled it squarely because it related to the issue of U.S. population stabilization, which was deemed essential to the health of the American environment. By the late 1970s, the ZPG leaders who were the most interested in immigration issues spun off a new organization called the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Among them was John Tanton, who had also been a member of the Sierra Club’s National Population Committee. Their idea was that FAIR would take no stand on abortion and other controversial family planning issues in order to attract a wider constituency which would work for immigration reform not only for environmental reasons, but for economic relief for the working poor and taxpayers, for social cohesion and for national security.
The ZPG leaders who left the ZPG board for FAIR also happened to be most of the people with the greatest interest in population as an environmental issue. That meant that those remaining on the board were more inclined toward the type of population movement that was rooted in family planning and women’s issues. While ZPG continued to have policies on U.S. stabilization and the environment —and produce some outstanding educational materials— these policies and programs got less and less staff and board attention as the 1980s progressed. New staff were hired less on the basis of their environmental expertise and commitment and more because of their commitment to women’s issues. One former board member and local ZPG activist recalled that board members and key staff "have been close to women’s groups for some time, and want to please them."84
By 1996, ZPG was focused overwhelmingly on global population issues from the women’s empowerment perspective. A secondary focus was excessive consumption by Americans.85 The board removed the word "stabilize" from much of its literature and its Mission Statement. On October 25, 1997, the ZPG board substituted "slowing" for "stopping" so that it then advanced a goal of merely "slowing" U.S. and world population growth. ZPG’s president Judith Jacobsen wrote in the newsletter ZPG Reporter that the reason ZPG didn’t support creating U.S. policies to reduce domestic population growth was that population problems in third world countries needed to be resolved first. She said that the "Cairo Conference taught us that changing the conditions of women’s lives is the most powerful answer" for population problems. She then gave a long list of ZPG’s essential commitments, none of which were population stabilization or environmental protection.86
Thus, just before its 30th anniversary, ZPG had severed its goals from its name and its founding mission —zero population growth. Also abandoned as a central concern was the protection of the American environment which had been at the heart of ZPG’s founding. ZPG had not necessarily turned anti-environment or anti-stabilization, but it had evolved into an organization with different priorities. For many of those associated with the "old ZPG," like former president Judy Kunofsky, former board member Joyce Tarnow, and former member of its citizen’s advisory board Albert A. Bartlett, this change was deeply disappointing.87
In a April 22, 1997 letter to the ZPG board (to which she never received a reply), Tarnow called the group’s position on legal immigration levels "terribly inadequate" and urged it to engage in a dialogue with immigration reform organizations. The prospects for this looked dim, however, in view of Executive Director Peter Kostmayer’s recent comments to Floridians that "disparaged the immigration reform movement as basically xenophobic."88
Later that year, after 27 years of dedicated membership and service, Tarnow resigned from ZPG, because of its "unwillingness to take a rational position on legal immigration reform." She commented with regret that "The actions of this Board, its officers and executive director, have confirmed for me that the purpose of the organization has been abandoned for reasons unknown."89 ZPG board chair Judith Jacobsen responded that: "Feelings run high and intense on the immigration issue, on all sides. The majority of the ZPG board feels that its position is a careful balance among demographic needs, moral constraints, and political realities. We have spent a great deal of time working it out, most recently in a nine-hour discussion at our October meeting. I’m sorry that you don’t share this position."90
Cause #4: Schism between the Conservationist and
New-Left Roots of the Movement
Historians are likely to find other important clues to the environmental movement’s shift by studying the roots of the modern environmental movement. Three of the roots are of special interest here.
Two of the roots go back a century: (1) The wilderness preservation movement was exemplified by John Muir, the National Parks, and later, and National Wilderness Areas. (2) The resource conservation movement was exemplified by President Theodore Roosevelt, his chief forester Gifford Pinchot, and the National Forests.91
The preservationists focused on a love of the outdoors and on preservation of natural areas and wildlife for their own intrinsic value as well as for the enjoyment and spiritual nourishment of present and future generations.92 They included such well established, non-profit organizations as the Audubon Society, Izaak Walton League, Wilderness Society, and Sierra Club.
The conservationists focused on the prudent stewardship and sustainable utilization of natural resources like timber, water, soils, and minerals, in pursuit of the "greatest good of the greatest number for the longest time," in Pinchot’s memorable phrase.93 The conservation movement gave birth to such professions as forestry, agronomy, and game (wildlife) and fisheries management. It was represented by such federal government agencies as the U.S. Forest Service, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and U.S. Geological Service and by state-level counterparts in all fifty states.
Although conservationists and preservationists have often been at bitter odds since the divisive, decade-long struggle over whether to dam Hetch-Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park (which destroyed the friendship of Muir and Pinchot), there is in fact considerable common ground between the goals and leading proponents of the American preservationist and conservationist movements. Aldo Leopold —the founder of modern game management, co-founder of the Wilderness Society, and author of the conservation classic A Sand County Almanac94 —straddled both camps. So did Robert Marshall, chief of recreation for the U.S. Forest Service in the 1930s and a Wilderness Society co-founder as well.
A third root of the modern environmental movement is much younger. It was an outgrowth of what was called New-Left politics with a strong strain of socialism, as espoused by its guru of the 1970 era, Barry Commoner. This root was given its strongest impetus with the 1962 publication of Silent Spring by naturalist Rachel Carson.95
Although Carson was deeply concerned about the unforeseen effects of pesticides and other man-made poisons being released indiscriminately into the natural environment, this third root of modern environmentalism came to focus more on urban and health issues such as air, water, and toxic contamination, as they affected the human environment. Commoner, in fact, criticized conservationists for putting wildlife ahead of human health. As journalist Mark Dowie writes: "The central concern of the new movement is human health. Its adherents consider wilderness preservation and environmental aesthetics worthy but overemphasized values. They are often derided by anti-toxic activists as bourgeois obsessions."96 A staffer for a regional environmental group working with low-income Hispanic residents of New Mexico to protect their groundwater and drinking wells from industrial contamination startled one conservationist by ridiculing the priorities of those working to protect wildlife in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling.97
Having much in common with the emerging Green parties of Europe (social justice, peace, and ecology), the new "greens" of America joined with the wilderness preservationists and resource conservationists as the modern environmental movement was born in the 1960s. But the New Left greens held opposite views on population from those of most preservationists and conservationists. In his influential 1971 book The Closing Circle and elsewhere, Barry Commoner minimized the role of population as a cause of environmental problems. Commoner said the problems attributed to population growth were actually caused by unfair distribution of resources and by profitable technologies. Environmental degradation could be rectified by changing economic systems.98
Like free-market libertarians on the right, and like Marxist theoreticians on the left all over the world, the New Left greens believed that population problems could be solved by choosing the correct economic system. They saw few or no limits to growth, believed excessive consumption (on the part of the rich) rather than excessive population was at the root of environmental degradation, and often decried a concern about overpopulation as "blaming the victims of oppression," at best, or thinly disguised racism at worst.99 Left-wing environmentalist and newspaper columnist Alexander Cockburn compared the 1998 Sierra Club referendum on U.S. population stabilization to a Ku Klux Klan rally on the op-ed page of the largest newspaper on the West Coast —concluding that the Sierra vote was the "much more sinister and dangerous..." of the two.100
Conservationists and preservationists, in contrast, had always been concerned about some aspects of population growth. As far back as 1939, Wilderness Society cofounder Robert Marshall opposed a plan (never implemented) to settle thousands of European Jewish refugees in Alaska – in spite of the fact that he himself was Jewish —because that federally-sponsored population growth in the country’s last, vast wilderness area "would diminish the opportunity for individualism and self-sufficiency that still flourished in the isolated, unmapped expanse of the north."101 Conservationists and preservationists became especially alarmed by the Baby Boom impact on the environment. Their decades of experience watching wilderness and other habitats disappear under the constant growth of U.S. population led large numbers of them to confront that growth boldly and directly by the late 1960s. Wilderness advocate and popular Southwestern author Edward Abbey spoke for many when he said that "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."102
It appears that the New Left greens tried to keep population issues off the Earth Day 1970 agenda. They lost. Conservationists and preservationists succeeded in retaining their fundamental tenet that there could be no permanent environmental preservation without limiting human numbers. The college students and young adults who were rushing into the movement at the time may have been more temperamentally inclined toward the anti-war, anti-establishment New Left greens, but the young new environmentalists —armed with millions of dog-eared copies of The Population Bomb— seemed to overwhelmingly accept the old-line conservationists’ assessment of population. Most of the new more-liberal environmental groups that were formed at the time rejected the New Left’s opposition to fighting never-ending population growth and joined with the conservationists on their population stances.
But the New Left wing of environmentalism reversed its losses in the 1990s, according to Earth First! co-founder Dave Foreman, one of the most publicized and aggressive players in the first 20 years of U.S. environmentalism.103 He said the New Left wing —which he called "Progressive Cornucopians"— established its antistabilization view as the dominant one in the national staffs and boards of many groups, including the Sierra Club. Professor George Sessions, one of the founders of the deep ecology movement, commented on the influence of "postmodernists" (who reject the concept of "objective" truth and believe nature is but a "social construct"). He documented the hostility of postmodernists to much of the nature conservation and population stabilization causes.104
On the winning side of the 1990s population policy conflict were people like Brad Erickson, coordinator of the Political Ecology Group, which played a key role in helping the Sierra Club board abandon its proscriptive population stabilization policy in 1996 and then fight off the pro-stabilization Sierra members in 1998.105 Erickson said the fight was a replay of the one at Earth Day 1970, which the New Left greens lost.106 He said the plan of the New Left greens in the 1960s had been to use the environmental issue as one of several they hoped would bloom into a full manifestation of a progressive movement far beyond the confines of traditional American economics and culture. But conservationists hi-jacked Earth Day, forced their population issues into it and the movement, and have limited the effectiveness of environmentalism ever since, Erickson explained. This view is shared by author Mark Dowie, who argues that population stabilization and immigration reform have retarded the transformation of conservation and preservation-oriented environmentalism into a movement for "environmental justice."107 By abandoning their limits-to-growth population ideology in the 1990s, the environmental groups could at last form coalitions with groups organized around a variety of non-environmental progressive causes, unencumbered by embarrassing population concerns.
60. Anon. The Washington Times.
1994. June 11; Anon. The New York Times. June 16. Cited in Lindsey Grant.
1994. "The Cairo Conference: Feminists vs. the Pope." NPG Forum
61. George D. Moffett. 1994. Critical Masses: The Global Population Challenge. New York: Viking. p. 190.
62. George Weigel. 1995. "What Really Happened at Cairo, and Why." In Michael Cromartie (ed.) The Nine Lives of Population Control. Washington, D.C. :Ethics and Public Policy Center.
63. Lindsey Grant. 1994. "The Cairo Conference: Feminists vs. the Pope." NPG Forum Series (Washington, D.C.: Negative Population Growth).
64. Meredith Burke. 1998. E-mail to Roy Beck. December 9. Meredith Burke is an international demographic consultant and past coordinator of Management Information, Family Planning International Assistance.
65. Lindsey Grant. 1997. "Multiple Agendas and the Population Taboo." Focus, Vol. 7, No. 3 (Washington, D.C.: Carrying Capacity Network); reprinted from Chapter 16 of Juggernaut: Growth on a Finite Planet. Santa Ana, CA: Seven Locks Press. 1996.
66. Martha Madison Campbell. 1998. "Schools of Thought: An Analysis of Interest Groups Influential in International Population Policy" Population and Environment. Vol. 19, No. 6.
67. Supra, note 59.
68. Lester Thurow. 1993. Head to Head: The Coming Economic Battle Among Japan, Europe and America. William Morrow & Co.
69. Paul Harrison. The Third Revolution: Population, Environment, and a Sustainable World. 1992, 1993. London and New York: Penguin.
70. Virginia D. Abernethy. 1993. Population Politics: The Choices that Shape Our Future. New York: Plenum.
71. The shift within the population movement from an emphasis on "limits to growth" toward "personal liberty" has even shaped the choice of language used by activists in the 1990s. In the 1960s and 1970s, those concerned about overpopulation typically referred to the remedy of "population control," in much the same way the terms "birth control" or "pollution control" were used. By the 1990s, this term had been largely phased out in favor of "population stabilization," which is somewhat more precise but, more significantly, also lacks the politically-incorrect tinge of coercion implicit in "control."
72. Supra, note 60.
73. The Population Institute points out that according to the U.N. Population Fund’s 1998 State of the World Population report, actual family planning assistance has remained well below even these promised amounts, reaching barely at $2 billion in 1997 and 1998 (Population Institute. 1998. "1998 World Population Overview and Outlook 1999." Released December 30, 1998. Washington, D.C.: Population Institute).
74. Barbara Crossette. 1994. "Vatican Drops Fight Against U.N. Population Document." The New York Times, September 10.
75. Interview conducted in early 1999 by Leon Kolankiewicz with two NWF senior staffers.
76. United Nations Foundation. Undated. "Women & Population: Challenge for the 21st Century." Downloaded May, 1999 from Internet at <http://www.unfoundation.org/issues/women/challenge_wp.cfm>.
77. Population Institute. 1998. "1998 World Population Overview and Outlook 1999." Released December 30, 1998. Downloaded from Internet at < www.populationinstitute.org/overview98.html >.
78. Supra, note 68.
79. Supra, note 63.
80. Supra, note 74.
81. Judy Kunofsky. 1997. Post to on-line Sierra Club population forum. Dr. Kunofsky was on the ZPG Board of Directors from 1972-84 and was president from 1977-80.
83. Celia Evans Miller and Cynthia P. Green. 1976. "A U.S. Population Policy: ZPG’s Recommendations." Zero Population Growth policy paper.
84. Mike Hanauer. 1998. E-mail to Roy Beck. In addition to having served on the ZPG board, Hanauer is past chair of ZPG of Greater Boston and co-chair of the New England Coalition for Sustainable Population.
85. Alan Kuper. 1999. "ZPG or ZCG?" E-mail to list. April 10. Kuper, a long-time Sierra member and one of the population activists who spearheaded the 1998 referendum, pointed out that 7 out of 10 questions on ZPG’s 1999 Earth Day quiz related to consumption. "Based on what I have, I’d say ZPG is promoting in classrooms across the US, reduction in consumption more than reduction in numbers."
86. Judith Jacobsen. 1998. President’s message. ZPG Reporter, February.
87. Judy Kunofsky. 1998. Post to on-line Sierra Club population forum. October 15; Joyce Tarnow. 1998. Email to Roy Beck, December 8. Tarnow started the Miami chapter of ZPG in 1970, served on the national board from 1972-74, and is now president of Floridians for a Sustainable Population. Bartlett, Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Colorado, wrote on January 10, 1999: "Zero Population Growth no longer advocates zero population growth? They now advocate ‘slow population growth and sustainability.’ These two concepts are totally in conflict with one another….I was on the board of citizen advisors of ZPG for a decade or two, and I knew nothing about this change until I happened to notice it in reading the ZPG paper. It is not known if the Board of Directors consulted with anyone before they made this major and contradictory change in their mission statement."
88. Joyce Tarnow. 1997. April 22 letter to Dianne Dillon-Ridgely, president, and ZPG board.
89. Joyce Tarnow. 1997. November 25 letter to Dr. Judith Jacobsen, ZPG president.
90. Judith E. Jacobsen. 1997. December 8 letter to Joyce Tarnow.
91. Samuel P. Hays. 1959, 1969. Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency: The Progressive Conservation Movement, 1890-1920. Harvard University Press/Athenaeum.
92. Roderick Nash. 1967. Wilderness and the American Mind. Revised edition, 1973. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
93. Gifford Pinchot. 1947. Breaking New Ground. New York: Harcourt, Brace. p. 320. In Douglas H. Strong. 1971, 1988. Dreamers and Defenders – American Conservationists. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press. p. 83.
94. First published in 1949, and since reprinted many times, A Sand County Almanac has been called the finest nature writing since Thoreau. "The Land Ethic" is the most famous of this collection of essays.
95. Rachel Louise Carson (1907-64) was a marine biologist and author of widely read books on ecological themes, including Under the Sea Wind (1941), The Sea Around Us (1951) -- for which she was awarded the 1952 National Book Award in nonfiction —and The Edge of the Sea (1955). Her prose was praised for its beauty as well as its scientific accuracy. She taught zoology at the University of Maryland from 1931 to 1936. She was also an aquatic biologist at the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries and its successor, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, from 1936 to 1952.
96. Mark Dowie. 1995. Losing Ground: American Environmentalism at the Close of the Twentieth Century. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. p. 127.
97. This incident occurred to Leon Kolankiewicz in 1990 with a staff person from the Southwest Information Center.
98. Barry Commoner. 1971. The Closing Circle. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
99. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels both lambasted Malthusian theory. Yet once Marxists or Communists actually assume political power in a given country they sometimes have been among the most zealous in pushing population control, as evidenced most clearly in the People’s Republic of China. At the 1996 U.N. Food Conference in Rome, Cuban president Fidel Castro chided the Vatican on population and argued the necessity of stopping population growth if the world was ever to solve the food problem. As ecological economist Herman E. Daly notes in his essay "Marx and Malthus in Northeast Brazil": "The leftists want a growing proletariat to fight for the revolution..." (Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development, 1996, Boston: Beacon Press). Once in power, however, they apparently come to see the infeasibility of providing for ever-growing numbers, and they change their tune radically. The conservative Islamic clerics governing Iran since the overthrow of the Shah in 1979 seem to have undergone a similar shift, from railing against birth control and family planning to actively promoting it as the social and economic burdens of a rapidly growing population became ever more evident.
100. Alexander Cockburn. 1997. "Column Left." Los Angeles Times. October 2.
101. Tom Kizzia. 1999. "Give Us This Chance; Part 2: As German Jews eagerly await immigration word, U.S. government officials are split on plan to bring new settlers to Alaska." Anchorage Daily News. May 17.
102. James R. Hepworth and Gregory McNamee. 1996. Resist Much Obey Little, Remembering Ed Abbey. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. In John Rohe. 1997. A Bicentennial Malthusian Essay. Traverse City, Michigan: Rhodes & Easton. p. 104.
103. Dave Foreman. 1998. "Progressive Cornucopianism." Wild Earth, Vol. 7, No. 4.
104. George Sessions. 1995. "Postmodernism, Environmental Justice, and the Demise of the Ecology Movement?" Wild Duck Review. No. 5, June/July; George Sessions. 1995. "Political Correctness, Ecological Realities, and the Future of the Ecology Movement." Wild Duck Review, Vol. 1, No. 6, Sept. By way of example, Sessions quotes a book review by Erik Davis in the Village Voice Literary Supplement (February, 1995): "When postmodernists hear Nature, they reach for their revolvers. [Much of] this is motivated in part by the threat hardcore [radical] ecology poses to postmodernism’s most visibly progressive rhetoric: the politics of diversity."
105. A 1998 fundraising letter from PEG claimed that "Sierra grassroots leaders told us that ‘The Sierra Club would not have won this vote without PEG,’" an assessment that PEG’s adversaries would probably agree is not far off the mark.
106. Brad Erickson. 1998. Personal interview. May.
107. Supra, note 89. pp. 160-166.
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[MFS note: See "Sustainability Authors" for several of the authors cited.]
Used with permission of the authors.