Wednesday, October 18, 2006

People, People Everywhere

The 300 millionth person to enter the United States wasn't met with any bells as whistles. In fact, even though the Census Bureau counted him or her on Tuesday, no one really knows who he or she is, or even if he or she was born in a hospital or just crossed the border.

Aside from some discussion about how the United States' population is now only behind China and India, other reports of this milestone seem to gloss over many of the issues surrounding this event like resource use, pollution, health care, and economic benefits of an expanding crowd.

Many articles on the topic are from local newspapers claiming to be the home of the 300 millionth American. Some others like Live Science do better by briefly touching on the economic benefit of a robust population. That article even mentions the fact that some goverments are fearful of decreasing numbers. But still, the view through an environmental lens is somewhat lacking.

With so much talk about countries like Germany and France that struggle to sustain their populations, the U.S., which welcomes a fresh face every 11 seconds, might benefit from another look at what 300 million really means.