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April 22, 2004

Beating Back Anti-Immigrant Prejudice

A big sigh of relief. The members of the Sierra Club have decisively rejected leadership candidates who were campaigning to convert the Sierra Club into an anti-immigrant organization.

This same fight happened a few years ago, but the anti-immigrant forces had more prominent candidates this time, including former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm.

There is a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) form of environmentalism that sees new immigrants as a threat to the environment, due to growth pressures. But any reasonable view of the global environment has to recognize that more people in one place is less pressure on the environment somewhere else-- so it's not immigration but overall use of resources wherever people live that matters for environmental preservation.

There are many areas of the US-- sprawling low-density suburbs especially-- that could improve the environment with more growth targetted at "infilling" those areas to encourage more use of mass transit. Growth in many areas, properly managed, can easily be a net plus for the environment. It can potentially repair the environmental disaster that sprawl has created in so many areas of the United States.

Posted by Nathan at April 22, 2004 07:48 AM