This web site is the result of a meeting of long-time conservationists held in Western Oregon in the spring of 2006. The purpose was to discuss the decade-long retreat of U.S. environmental organizations from addressing domestic population and consumption growth as the key issues in both domestic and global sustainability.
The group decided the gap left by traditional environmental organizations should be filled, starting with a web site forum in which individual leaders in the conservation movement would be able to present their own positions on a comprehensive approach to sustainability and also invite the general public and members of environmental organizations to endorse and forward their views to their Congressional representatives.
Each of the conservation leaders who appears on the home page – and those who will join them over time -- has an established track record and reputation in the global, American and/or regional conservation movement. Visitors are encouraged to review their biographies and positions they advocate through the links on the home page.
Our principles include:
1. Concern about global population trends, recognizing the importance of stabilizing world population at 8 billion, and then achieving a voluntary decline to a more sustainable level;
2. Full embrace of the Cairo Population Conference (1994) recommendations including support for women’s empowerment, girl’s education and comprehensive reproductive health services, which we recognize as the best way to lower birth rates;
3. Concern about U.S. population growth and the multiplier effect population growth has on virtually all environmental issues, including the US consumption’s disproportionate impact on the global ecosystems;
4. Support for policies that will rein in this growth, including access to family planning services, continued legal access to abortion, comprehensive sex education in schools, and reduction in current high immigration levels;
5. Compassionate and fair treatment of immigrants, both legal and illegal, combined with a firm rejection of any supposed "right" of all people, everywhere, to immigrate to the U.S. regardless of U.S. policies;
6. Recognition of U.S. responsibility to address the “push” factors in sending countries, such as poverty and lack of opportunity generally, addressed through a combination of increased foreign aid, trade policies designed to help poor people in other countries, not just to maximize trade, and other policy changes;
7. Concern about the high level of consumption in the US and the need to significantly reduce per capita consumption of energy, water, land and other resources as quickly as possible;
8. A recognition that as citizens of the United Sates, and residents of our particular bioregions, we have a special responsibility to protect the wild and beautiful places we love, and the critters which inhabit them right here -- as well as globally.
Please address questions about this website to Bill Elder at Bill.Elder@ApplyTheBrakes.org who coordinates it on behalf of the leaders group.