US Population Reaches 300 Million
04 October 2006: Sometime this month, the US population is
projected to reach 300 million.
With births exceeding deaths by nearly two to one, the US
population grows by almost 1.8 million each year, or 0.6 percent.
Adding nearly 1 million immigrants per year brings the annual growth
rate up to 0.9 percent, raising the total addition to 2.7 million.
More people require more of everything, including water. In our
highly urbanized society, we fail to recognize how much water one
person uses. While we drink close to a gallon of water each day as
water, juice, pop, coffee, tea, beer, or wine, it takes some 500
gallons a day to produce the food we consume.
Water shortages are plaguing the western half of the country and
many areas in the East as well. Water tables are now falling
throughout most of the Great Plains and in the US Southwest. Lakes
are disappearing and rivers are running dry. It has been years since
the Colorado River, the largest river in the US Southwest, reached
the Gulf of Mexico.
As water supplies tighten, the competition between farmers and
cities intensifies. In this contest, farmers almost always lose.
Scarcely a day goes by in the western United States without another
farmer or an entire irrigation district selling their water rights
to cities like Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, or San
The seafood appetite of 300 million Americans is also outgrowing
the sustainable yield of its coastal fisheries. Long-time seafood
staples such as cod off the New England coast, red snapper in the
Gulf of Mexico, and salmon in the US Northwest are threatened by
In the United States, more people means more cars. And that in
turn means paving more land for roads and parking lots. Each US car
requires nearly one fifth of an acre of paved land for roads and
parking space. For every five cars added to the US fleet, an area
the size of a football field is covered with asphalt. More often
than not, this land being paved is cropland simply because the flat,
well-drained soils that are good for farming are also ideal for
building roads and parking lots.
More people also usually means more garbage. New York City, for
example, generates 12,000 tons of garbage a day, a flow that
requires 600 tractor-trailers - fully loaded - to leave the city
each day headed for remote landfills in New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Virginia, and Ohio. Trucking garbage to ever more distant landfills
makes us more dependent on distant sources of oil.
Given the negative effects of continuing population growth on our
daily lives, it may be time to establish a national population
policy, one that would lead toward population stabilization sooner
rather than later.
Office Workers Who Leave Computers on All Night "Add to Global
In Britain, nearly nine out of ten employees (87 percent) have never
been asked to shut down their PCs at night. According to the PC
Energy Report,people do not realize that responsible PC use is as
Robert Scheer | Rice More Sordid Than Foley
"They are such liars," writes Robert Scheer.
Rice is famously sharp and has an awesome memory. Considering the
trauma of 9/11 and its effects, it is inconceivable that Rice would
not recall such an ominous and prescient briefing by Tenet and
Black, especially after the 9/11 Commission forced her to document
and review her actions in those crucial months.
It is, however, as she stated Monday, "incomprehensible" that
she, then the national security advisor to the president and the
person most clearly charged with sounding the alarm, would have
ignored the threat. But ignore it the administration did, and then
later tried to lay the blame on the Clinton administration, which,
Rice claimed at the 9/11 Commission hearings, lied when it said it
had given the incoming White House team an action plan for fighting
"We were not presented with a plan," Rice infamously argued
under questioning from then-Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), but instead
were given a memo with "a series of actionable items" describing how
to tackle Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
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