Earth Notes: Effects of rapid growth

earthnotesBy Kenneth Roy

My love of the outdoors was first felt when in the late 1940s when we moved from our city home each year for three months to our lakeside summer home in New Bedford, Mass. Each year, I looked forward to leaving the city environment with its house-to-house crowding, and noisy, rowdy neighbors. One time, one of these malcontents tried to take away my popgun, enraging me enough I gave him a “pop,” much to my surprise, as we usually tried to outrun them.

I later lived in Alaska for 20 years, furthering my love for nature, and got a real stake in it when we moved back to the 48 and purchased a 74-acre tree farm with home in Lovell.

Another memory I have from those was something my father said to me about his conviction/belief that we were going to have a terrible population problem, and this was about 1950 when the population was only 150 million, compared to today’s 323 million, more than doubling the population.

One consequence of this rapid growth has been seen in our cities, which are increasingly more crowded, with more homelessness, crime and ever-increasing needs for social services.

One of the more alarming instances of this was the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco mentioned in a previous Earth Notes article; there have been many more as a result of cities claiming “Sanctuary” status.

One of these was in Minneapolis where “29-year-old Edson Celin Benitez, of St. Paul, and 35-year-old Reinol Godines Vergara, of Richfield, were both arrested last May for the April murder of 90-year-old Earl Arthur Olander in the San Francisco Township (“Minnesota’s ‘Sanctuary City’ Murder,” CBS Minnesota, July 9, 2015).

“Sanctuary cities” refuse to honor detainers by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and will not inquire about their immigration status. The “Sanctuary cities” concept originated in Los Angeles in 1979 when police commissioner Daryl Gates issued Special Order 40, which prevented police from asking the immigration status of residents and prevented them from arresting anyone for illegal entry into the United States.

“Sanctuary cities” were made officially a violation as one of the provisions of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA).

What does all this have to do with my love for the environment? Well, it is part of what I see as the degradation of our total environment; this includes the continuing conversion of our open spaces and farmland into shopping malls and housing projects.

This is why I am a member of the Greater Lovell Land Trust (GLLT), the Maine Farmland Trust and the American Farmland Trust, while at the same time I support FAIR, the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform that, among other things calls for reduction in immigration to control population growth.

Am I conflicted? No! I am concerned about the future safety, security and sustainability of our nation and a livable environment for my children.

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