Facing the Question of Population Growth
"For years, in company with most journalists, I've been ducking the population issue. We Americans seem to have it on our DNA - we believe that all economic development and growth, no matter the consequences, is a positive thing.
But a new article by seasoned environmental writer Tom Horton - "Growing! Growing! Gone! The Chesapeake Bay and the Myth of Endless Growth" - brings me up short.
The once-acclaimed federal-state campaign to restore the Chesapeake, now in its 25th year with billions of dollars invested, notes Horton, is in shambles. Its 2010 deadline for cleaner water won't be met, blue crabs are at an historic low, and nitrogen, the Bay's dominant pollutant, remains double healthy levels.
And it's all about people, suggests Horton. From 8 million people in the 1950s, the population of the Bay's six-state, 64,000 square mile watershed has ballooned to 17 million, with 1.7 million more coming each year."