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Population Issues - Selected Articles and Essays

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Salton Sea Symposium 2000

An Unofficial Information Packet on
Population Growth and the Salton Sea

for attendees at the

Salton Sea Symposium
Miracle Springs Hotel and Spa
Desert Hot Springs, California, January 13-14, 2000

prepared by the

Center for Inland Waters, San Diego State University

with the assistance of

Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS)
Federation for American Immigration Reform (
Negative Population Growth (
Population-Environment Balance (
Southwest Center for Environmental Research and Policy (
Society for Environmental Journalists, (
The Social Contract

This packet supplements a poster presentation titled

Population Growth and the Salton Sea: The Major
Long-term Issue, Out from Under the Rug


  Some persons may find the content and tone of both poster and packet controversial, politically injudicious, acerbic, and just plain not for polite society. We admit they are unusual in the annals of discussions on Salton Sea issues.

  But only three years ago, the topic of eutrophication and nutrient inputs to the Sea were also considered taboo and to be kept under the rug. One water agency legal staffer opined that eutrophication was a big word that people in his valley didn't understand - and wouldn't want to understand once they did. But with the assistance of people like Rich Thiery, Phil Gruenberg, and then Milt Friend and the Salton Sea Science Subcommittee, nutrients and eutrophication were put squarely on the table and are getting the serious attention they must have. And Don Cox says it doesn't hurt as much as he thought it would!

  So with the same optimism we now put on the table an issue that is even more critical to the Salton Sea: the extremely high, environmentally unsustainable rates of population growth in both the Salton Sea watershed and in those parts of California hoping to siphon water out of it.

  This is a much more difficult issue, of course. It is one that defies regional solutions or technical ones. Its solution will depend more on the wisdom and integrity of politicians in Washington than on the skills of scientists and engineers in the West. In the U.S., more than in most countries, immigration rates are central to the problem. And in public discussions of that issue, often a few ethically-challenged individuals try to close off debate by slanderous, ad hominem attacks and innuendo aimed at those who disagree with them. They usually succeed, even when a small minority. That indeed is one reason our packet and poster may seem, at first, so out of place - despite their having greater relevance to the Salton Sea's medium- and long-term future status than do most of the scientific and technical presentations made at this symposium.

  "I don't know how anyone can advocate an unpopular cause unless
one is either irritating or ineffective"

- Bertrand Russell, British philosopher and mathematician


"There appears to be a group of anarchists or luddites at San Diego State University who have put together for us this packet of information on population growth. If you did not get one, you should. I commend this to you. Everyone must understand the information in it. Population growth is going to dramatically affect what we can and cannot do."

- Mr. Mike Madigan, Chairman, California Water Commission, in opening
remarks as moderator of panel on "A Careful Balancing Act",
Salton Sea Symposium, January 13, 2000

Contents of Information Packet

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