Strange Bedfellows Highlight Negative Environmental Impacts of U.S. Growth
New York Times and NumbersUSA tell similar stories
The New York Times and the non-profit organization NumbersUSA are both telling almost the exact same story in recent reports. This is unusual because these two organizations don’t usually agree on much, as far as I can tell.
On March 3rd, the New York Times published a series of maps about the threat to biodiversity across the U.S. Titled, “These Maps Show Where Biodiversity Is Most At Risk In America”, the maps paint a disturbing image of Wild Nature being destroyed in our beautiful country.
The Times says, “the scientists created models for more than 2,200 species based on where they are known to exist and their habitat needs”, and then quotes a scientist as saying, “There are hundreds of species known to be globally critically imperiled or imperiled in this country that have no protection under federal law and often no protection under state law.”
Just a few days later, the non-profit organization NumbersUSA published a nation-wide sprawl report titled, “From Sea to
Shining Sprawling Sea”, which also uses maps to tell its story of how the natural landscape is being devoured by growth.
NumbersUSA reports that 17,800 square miles of Open Space have been “lost” between the years 2002 and 2017. Further, the report states, “The losses have exceeded 35,000 square miles since 1996…”
Not surprisingly, there’s overlap between where NumbersUSA says massive sprawl is occurring and the New York Times says biodiversity is threatened. Further, the Times highlights “Fast-Growing Urban Areas” as the partial cause of the threat to biodiversity, and NumbersUSA speaks point-blank about the sprawl and population growth in many of those same “fast-growing urban areas”.
Further yet, both reports call out President Biden’s 30x30 campaign and its potential involvement as a solution in this massive Biodiversity-Sprawl-Growth problem. The New York Times states,
“The Biden administration has set a goal to conserve and restore 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. It’s part of a larger global push, known as 30x30, to protect more land and water worldwide.”
And NumbersUSA states,
“In May 2020, the Biden-Harris Administration formally released its grand “30×30” plan in a report called “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful.”….Today’s urgent national efforts, such as the 30×30 movement, are based on changing the trajectory of open-space loss by 2030 without changing the trajectory of population growth.”
My two cents: If both the New York Times and NumbersUSA — strange bedfellows — are telling the same story, we should all pay attention.