Trapped in a morass of middle class mediocrity--- a life of long commutes, road rage, double-income stress, crippling mortgages and rents---- the average American urbanite dreams the fantasy of weekend escape. Car makers and the advertising agencies they employ are there to offer it to them. TV commercials assure us that the SUV is your ticket to the promised land, the ticket to off-road heaven, the chance to enjoy the tranquillity and space that willderness offers by trashing it. Not to worry. As the commercials show, there is plenty where that came from. The world is without limits, and you can be one of a 100 million to find a chunk of solitude just for yourself. To use and abuse.
Anti-growth activists are caught in a vice. In large urban areas bursting at the seams with overtaxed infrastructure, the potent force of the growth lobby and the pervasive influence of the media that supports it makes opposition to the growth juggernaut hazardous to mind, body and spirit. Yet life in a rural locality presents an even more daunting challenge. The costs of growth are not so manifest to those who do not understand its exponential nature. The benefits of fresh air, tranquility and wildlife are taken for granted, and the allure of big city amenities is irresistible. Locals are beguiled by the promise that new development will solve unemployment, increase the supply of affordable housing and keep young people close to hearth and home. To stand up against growth in a small town is to invite ostracism and ridicule from uncomprehending minds that cannot understand why anyone would oppose "progress". The following letter was submitted to the newspaper of one such town, but it could have been the template for letters to almost any small town newspaper in North America or Australia or elsewhere---newspapers which live on the advertising revenue from the businesses that profit from growth.
From Montreal to Melbourne, from Brisbane to Boston, ordinary people across the world feel like helpless bystanders as woodlands or wetlands or farmlands fall victim to the bulldozer. Madeline Weld, President of the Population Institute of Canada, articulates that feeling well in what could become a theme song for all of us---the Bulldozer Blues. It is about sprawl in Ottawa, but actually, it is about sprawl everywhere.
UPDATE September 21, 2010:Millionaire bequest due in 12 months - but money urgently needed now
On 7 August 2009 I wrote an article about the Wombat Awareness Organisation, which also referred to some interesting 19th century attitudes to wombats in Britain. On September 21 we learned that, although Brigitte Stevens still needs funding urgently for another 12 months or so, after that the organisation expects the release of the first million dollar installment of an $8m bequest from a US horse-racing millionaire! So rarely do wildlife carers get the recognition they deserve for giving recognition and rights back to our fellow creatures. How wonderful to know that there are some rich people in the world who are not, apparently, entirely given over to land speculation and undermining democracy.
For the business community and a government keen to dig itself out of debt of its own foolish making, coal mining expansion in Queensland only represents a 'wonderful financial investment opportunity'! Other people wonder how Andrew Fraser and the government can be so blind and lemming-like as to rush to deplete Australia's resources, pollute the planet, and tragically disfigure our most beautiful state, for mere money.
The effect of immigration on the employment of Canadians became a bit clearer this week. On the Tuesday, Sept 14 edition of CBC Radio's The Current, Economics Professor Eric Howe stated that 1 in 7 Aboriginal Canadians in Saskatchewan lost their jobs in 2009. Mr. Howe is a specialist in Aboriginal issues and teaches at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. He described the job loss as "an utter disaster" for Aboriginals. He said a number of factors had caused this to happen. One was that the Saskatchewan job market slowed in 2009. Another was that the Saskatchewan provincial government was at that time "pushing the hiring of immigrants at the cost of hiring people already here".
Sex is a voluntary act, therefore children are discretionary.
In an already grossly overcrowded planet, the human motivation to have many children in order to support a family is a backward primitive tradition that is an unsustainable, selfish burden and impost on the planet. But it is clearly the responsibility of governments to control.
The key problem is that delinquent governments ignoring their family size excesses and their population excesses keep receiving generous hand outs from the global community such as the United Nations and the World Bank - as if to confirm - it's ok, keep breeding!
"When Julia Gillard hurtled towards the Governor General on July 17, she knew an early election would keep the Stable Population Party of Australia name off the Senate ballot paper. But it did not stop all of our party candidates from standing." SPPA - Commit to a stable, sustainable, open and tolerant Australia.
"The growth lobbyists will tell us that we can solve our problems by converting to “clean coal” technologies or nuclear power, building more high rise, producing desalinated water at $10 litre (who knows?), installing “smart” electricity meters, piping water from the Northern Victoria to Melbourne, importing more food on more and bigger ships etc." Federal Candidate, Jenny Warfe writes, "I'm looking forward to a different way of 'moving forward.'"
Immigrated (human) overpopulation driving Gang Gang cockatoo extinction
Australia's greatest social, environmental and economic problems are 'root driven' by immigrated human overpopulation. Both Gillard's & Abbott's 'sustainable population' is hollow headline spin. Both are committed to economic growth, because they know no better. Both are committed to encouraging skilled immigration because if is a cheaper bandaid measure for industries not prepared to invest in local vocational training. So what political parties have a serious policy commitment to stemming Australia's harmful excessive immigration?
If Gillard is not a rehash of the hollow Rudd, who hoodwinked us into the false hope of the 2007 pork barrelling and spun that hollow 2020 Summit; Gillard's absence of maxims and deadlines for Australia's population/immigration targets only confirms voters ought to presume more of the same.
Ordinary voters need to detox from this election bender.
Only the political parties, their advertisers and their media allies stand to benefit - like clubs that own the pokies.
Of the over 5700 articles that I have seen fit to archive in the past four years, two or three dozen stand out for their insight. But of those, five in particular remain conspicuous for their novelty or their ability to change perceptions or misperceptions. They were the right articles for the right time.
ABC TV's Tony Jones' current affairs debate this evening provided firstly prominent Australian, Dick Smith, with a heart felt concern about the uncontrolled, unplanned immigration surge impacting Australia, then a rigorous but too brief a debate from nevertheless a fair cross section of what appeared to be informed observers. Useful issues were presented from many quarters.
One key observation is that Dick Smith, who dared to initiate the debate and invest much in the documentary, insightfully concluded that at least Australia is mature enough to start publicly debating the subject. What needs to be thought through next is a national plan for population into the medium term future. Well done Dick Smith for your leadership on this critical issue!
One of our CanDoBetter commenters, 'RichB', has highlighted the site Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. This is a visionary site! As more globally-aware people begin to question the 20th Century 'growth-only' tenet, alternative ideals such a 'Low Population Planet', deserve to be considered and debated. But where to start? One practical moral campaign that would immediately start curbing the out-of-control human birth explosion would be to lobby against the funding requests of charities supporting countries that have high birth rates.
The reasons The Greens remain a marginal alternative party are:
1. They exclude those not ideologically 'green', so alienation keeps them alienated from the mainstream
2. They do not translate their idealistic ideology into pragmatic shovel-ready policy initiatives with dollar values and immediate costed implementation plans; so they remain perceived as a futurist think tank, not regarded as a real-time alternative executive government.
Australians are a tolerant mix of people, perhaps no more so than indigenous Australians who have put up with wave after wave of immigrants.
But Australia's immigration problem is not one of racism or xenophobia. It is local natural response to the sheer numbers of people arriving over a short period of time, to the point where our society, economy and environment are not coping and are where locals are copping negative social impacts.
Australia's immigration stress is the hundreds of thousands of economic migrants arriving at Sydney and Melbourne airports, NOT the few thousand asylum seekers arriving by boat.
If you want to know where the jobs, houses, hospital beds and education places have gone, look to the migrants taking them. 'Spot the Aussie' is a rarity. Economic migrants are not paying their way and sapping our limited public resources to the detriment of indigenous, ancestral and birth Australians.
It is inconsistent that a small neck Christian cross worn by British nurse Shirley Chaplin could be health risk to patients, while bangles, head scarves and long sleeves worn by Sikh and Muslim nurses at the same hospital are magically somehow 'exempt' and considered no health risk. Cods wallop! The spirit and goals of UK's Equality Act 2010 are supposed to be fair and equitable. Last time I visited Britain it was a predominantly Christian society.
Immigrants rejecting cultural assimilation with the local population are unwelcome invaders by definition. Newcomers by rejecting adoption of the local culture, are disrespectfully asserting an unjustified claim to establish and impose a foreign culture. Such is an invasion, albeit short of armed conflict or what colonists euphemistically term 'annexing', but that is only difference.
Immigrants seeking 'a new life' in Australia or New Zealand have a moral obligation to respect and adopt the ways of life of the local inhabitants of Australia and New Zealand respectively, not to impose their previous ways of life upon their new hosts. It is for the host country to facilitate and support that assimilation, not to abandon people.
Successive Lib/Lab common ideology in Australia has migrant students displacing domestic students.
Aside from the millions in export revenue from overseas students' cash making balance of trade figures look good, what social and moral justification could there possible be for favouring migrant students to take up tertiary places over Australia's own?
Why are house prices in urban Australia perpetually rising?
Why is demand for urban housing exceeding supply in Australian cities?
Why is housing demand so strong?
Why is housing supply in capital cities not meeting demand?
Why is Australia's population growth so high?
Until Australia's homeless have an humanitarian safety net of food, shelter, clothing, medical care and educational opportunity; only then can Australian governments morally extend further invitations to foreigners to share the Australian dream.... if environmental carrying capacity permits.
Grandiose fantasies about filling up a continent to create a great and powerful nation are not exclusive to Australia. Demographic hubris is alive and well in Canada too, and even now, after the loss of 20% of our best farmland to development, with more than a thousand species at risk and an immigrant population that has, over the last two decades, generated four times as much GHG emissions as the Albert Tar Sands megaproject, there are people who believe in a Big Canada concept. Irving Studin of the University of Toronto is one of them.
For those who follow the stock exchange, building materials share values are the key to the boom and bust cycle of Australian (and similar systems) property, infrastructure and construction booms. When building materials values go down we know that overall market demand decline has settled in. It means that the developers and engineers have reduced their forward orders for bricks and mortar. At the same time the States have been told to reduce their own little-known immigrant-sponsorship programs.
Today, in a press release titled, 'Change of direction on 'Big Australia', Kelvin Thomson wrote: "I am really pleased by the announcement by the Prime Minister that she intends to take a new direction in population policy, and to chart a course away from growth towards sustainability." At candobetter.org we are delighted to be gob-smacked. Here's a pod-cast of the recent Insiders (ABC) program on the change of P.M. for those who are keen to hear more.
To win election to local office requires a fluency in vacuous growthist idiocy, a combination of greenwash and bimbo boosterism. Here is toolkit of ten cliches that are generic to successful political campaigns across the anglophone world. If liberally sprinkled throughout your speeches, you will be guaranteed favourable treatment from the business community and the lap-dog media, dependent as it is on the advertising revenue of the real estate industry.
Every state government in Australia is trying to impose unreasonable and undemocratic population growth and development on Australians. On the heels of the Victorian protests, here is another urgent notice from Geoff Brown in New South Wales about the Sydney Growth Centres.
One of Candobetter.org 's main reasons for existence is to help Australians stop fighting local environmental brush-fires and start targeting the nationally organised arsonists - the Growth Lobby - where it dwells in political parties, government, business and organisations.
Click image for filmThis film reports on a steep decline in land and housing prices in the US and predicts that they will fall further - by 70 or 80%. It says that if you are investing in a house or simply buying one now, you are going to lose the house because it will lose speculative value. It says that Americans with common sense are simply staying away from buying houses, knowing that they can bring the market to its senses this way. It says that the winners in this will be those who need houses and will soon be able to afford them. The losers - the land speculators; the people who have made money idly out of homelessness; the bankers, the middleclass housing investment wannabes - will lose their money. About time.
Malcolm Muggeridge once wrote scathingly about the English socialists who praised the achievements of Stalin's Russia after a brief guided tour of the workers' paradise. Pity that he is not alive to write about Anna Bligh's mischaracterization of Vancouver. It is time that foreign growth boosters were called out on their use of the "Vancouver model" as a showcase for "green development". It is goddam lie. Bligh and the growth-management industry of urban planners who parrot this line should be shipped to Vancouver and made to live their on the subsistence income that four in ten Vancouverites struggle to survive on.
Since the slogan ''populate or perish'' was coined during World War II we have forged a consensus that a growing Australian population is mainly good for national prosperity.
The populate or perish policy is nothing new, of course. Under various guises, it has driven growth in Australia for more than 200 years. However, those who argue that big population equals better everything are wrong.
On Tuesday 25 May Mark O'Connor and Bernard Salt debated Australia’s population options at the “Future Summit”, run by the Australian DAVOS Connection (ADC) at the Hyatt in Melbourne. It was a one-hour debate, moderated by Jane-Frances Kelly of the Grattan Institute, before an audience mainly of business people. Organizers were surprised by the numbers this session attracted.