Talk by Edward Hartman: One Billion Americans.

October 11, 2007 • Daily Email Recap

In case you missed Edward Hartman’s talk at UVM, you have another chance to hear him. He will speak again at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, October 16th at St. Michael’s College, Hall of Fame Room, Tarrant Recreation Center.

What would living in the U.S. look and feel like if it was populated by one billion people? That is the question that Edward C. Hartman, the author of The Population Fix: Breaking America’s Addiction to Population Growth, will be asking when he discusses the implications of rapid and continuing population growth.

Hartman is the creator of “The Population-Environment Connection Scorecard.” His talk, “One Billion Americans,” is a wake-up call to present generations concerned about the quality of life for future generations. The talk is sponsored by UVM’s Department of Community Development and Applied Economics and is open to the public.

Ed Hartman considers current events in the context of how they are affected by population growth. Ed worries that far too many Americans assume that the U.S. does not have to be concerned about spiraling domestic population growth. Given that the U.S. population recently passed 300 million people and will pass 400 million by 2040, he feels that too few people realize that rather than winding down towards zero population growth, America is in the midst of a surge of unprecedented demographic expansion that is wreaking havoc on our environment. Being from California, Ed has first hand experience in what it is like to live in the most populated state in the country.

Ed feels so strongly about this issue that four years ago, as he sat in a hospital waiting room while his daughter was giving birth to her first child, he wrote a letter to the editor of his local newspaper about population growth. Two months later, he started writing a book about his concerns. In the book, Hartman describes many American entities–developers, political parties, and the media, to name a few–as addicted to population growth.

In spite of the controversies surrounding this issue, Hartman has found that whenever he speaks before the public, audiences are respectful and thoughtful. He tries to avoid controversy in his public appearances. “I would like people in the audience to have open minds as much as is practical.”

Ed is traveling to New England at his own expense because he wants to share his concern with others. He has found that New Englanders are more aware of population issues than people from most other regions of the U.S. “There seems to be a greater sense of the connection between environmental degradation and population growth in New England than elsewhere,” he says, adding that the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington have also been supportive of his views.

“To me the real issue is not fertility rates, illegal or legal immigration, it’s all of those things put together. We end up with this perpetual and accelerating population growth. And so all I try to do in my talks is try to engage audiences in asking themselves, ‘Do we really want to leave a nation of one billion to our descendants?’ And if they conclude that, yes, for religious reasons, for philosophical reasons, they do, I have no quarrel with that, but I do want them to think about it.”

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