My joy at reading of the wolf's likely return to Colorado is tempered by the knowledge that the future does not bode well for wildlife in the Southwest: the fastest-growing region of the world's fourth-fastest-growing nation (HCN, 2/15/10).
I remember the melancholy autumn howls of some of the last wolves in Colorado when I was a child. The pack ran in the San Juan Mountains northeast of Vallecito Lake. That my descendants might again hear wolves delights me.
But half of all growth in the world by 2050 will happen in just eight nations: India, Pakistan, Nigeria, China, the United States, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bangladesh's overpopulation is a huge problem for Bangladesh. But the United States' overpopulation, due to our environmental footprint, is a major problem for the world -- not to mention the last vestiges of wildlife habitat within our borders.
The corporate media mislead us on population. Indeed, the per-woman birth rate is just above replacement level. But, in 2007 -- because more women than ever were having babies -- births exceeded the 1957 peak of the baby boom. Births add 2 million people a year. Legal immigration adds 700,000. Illegal immigration adds another 500,000, forces fueling an absolutely ignored and unacknowledged population tsunami.
Will there be water, room, dignity, opportunity and space enough? And where will wildlife -- like the wolf -- find sanctuary in the crowded urban nation that Wall Street and Washington apparently have in mind for us?
Rio Rancho, New Mexico