Population Growth Still An Issue

Population growth, and its impact on land use, should not be overlooked, argues environmental writer John Feeney, who's set up a conference of scientists to examine the issue. This article looks at how population growth is affecting Oregon.
February 12, 2009, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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"160 scientists and thinkers who've signed up for a 'global population speakout' this month. It's the brainchild of John Feeney, a Colorado environmental writer who immersed himself in population issues while fighting a residential subdivision."

"The participants say it's time to talk population again. They're worried we won't make adequate progress on the most crucial environmental goals -- reducing carbon emissions, preventing overfishing and decreasing deforestation, among them -- unless we tackle growth and its ever increasing demands on the planet."

"Oregon has seen that dynamic at work. From 1990 to 2004, the state succeeded in slightly reducing its per person carbon emissions, for example."

"But the overall level still rose -- by 22 percent -- the state says, thanks to 700,000 new residents."

"Recycling rates have risen most years since 1992. But the amount of trash landfilled has still mostly gone up, despite state mandates to reduce it, with population growth and increased consumption to blame."

"And the Metro area has become a national leader on containing sprawl. But the expansion area from which Metro plans to pick future urban development -- to accommodate an expected doubling of the area's population by 2060 -- includes some of the state's best farmland and stretches to Sandy to the east, Molalla to the south and nearly to Newberg on the west side."

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Published on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 in The Oregonian
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