Saving the environment doesn’t come at the cost of people

Here’s a novel and worrying way to engage in the population/immigration debate and one that many Western leaders may embrace in the race to the political bottom:

In January 2010, national leaders in ecology, sustainable business, and the larger environmental movement gathered in Washington to grapple with the problem of building “The New Green Economy.” Hosted by the government-funded National Council for Science and the Environment, the event was a prestigious one.

But one of the invited speakers was hardly an environmentalist.

Roy Beck, who participated in a panel entitled “Perverse Incentives, Subsidies, and Tax Code Impediments to a Sustainable Economy,” is the head of NumbersUSA, an anti-immigration group that was largely responsible for sinking a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2007. Beck has spent nearly 20 years relentlessly attacking American immigration policies, even editing tracts like The Immigration Invasion, a book so raw in its nativism that Canadian authorities banned it as hate literature. More to the point, perhaps, purported environmentalist Beck’s group not long ago paid nearly half a million dollars to a far-right news service— an outfit that has described global warming as a “religion” that is “impervious to evidence” and has pilloried conservationists as “anti-mankind.”

So what was Beck doing talking about “greening the tax code”?

Roy Beck is part of a sweeping, renewed attempt by immigration restrictionists in America to convince environmentalists that they, too, must oppose immigration if they are to save the environment from the ravages of a growing population. Because such efforts typically have been organized by anti-immigration activists whose leading concern is not the environment — men and women who attempt to recruit conservationists and other “progressives” to their cause, sometimes even while simultaneously working with nakedly anti-environmental forces — this strategy has come to be known as “greenwashing.”