The column ``Rising Immigration Exacts a Heavy Toll on the Environment,'' July 19, provides the information that has escaped adequate exposure in the daily news media.
This has left the public without the background information to face one of the most difficult global problems.
I spent a number of winter vacations on a small island in the Caribbean.
The population has not increased in some 200 years, despite the large families that are common.
When the children of such families are grown, they typically go overseas to work, and the money they send home provides an extra source of income for their parents.
Exportation of surplus population is not an uncommon practice, but will become more difficult in the years ahead, for reasons expressed by the article.
As long as this practice works so well, however, there is no incentive to fit the population to the resources of an area.
If countries accept now that they will not be able to export population forever, then new incentives to define sustainable areas and, at the same time, control population will appear.
This is an alternative to the terrible suffering that will occur in the future if suitable measures are not taken now. Edward Boettiger, Woods Hole, Mass.
Emigration Won't Cure `Surplus Population'
To refer to the problems occurring around immigrants as ``environmental degradation'' is cruel and just adds to the stigma these poor people experience.
I agree that we have a population explosion, which is not good, but to stigmatize a disadvantaged minority is wrong.
For example, here in California there is a ``Save Our State'' initiative on the ballot to take public education, health care, and social services away from illegal aliens. Anne Lyeheim, San Rafael, Calif.
As reported in the article, ``Deep Dilemma in Grand Canyon: Improve Access or Retain Natural Beauty,'' Aug. 2, the cars, buses, airplanes, and helicopters converging on the Grand Canyon in ever greater numbers should wake us up.
The demands on our national parks are growing. The United States population has doubled since 1940, but park visitation is 16 times as high.
Pressure on national forests, national wildlife refuges, and US Bureau of Land Management areas - including the California desert -
is also growing rapidly.
A profoundly important legacy is at stake. The 620 million acres of public lands our forebears had the good sense to protect are a significant part of what we will pass on to future generations.
We need to take better care of these lands. Congress should conduct hearings on the sustainability of these special places - and of all our other resources at a time when the Census Bureau projects at least a 50 percent increase in America's population over the next 50 years. Gaylord Nelson, Washington Counselor, The Wilderness Society
The article, ``Alternative Health-Care Groups Push for `Choice' in Reform Bill,'' July 26, provides interesting and important information I have found nowhere else.
Many Americans for the first time are exploring the thought of health care from fresh perspectives.
Our whole nation is being roused to give deeper thought to the subject.
As we sort out the varied recommendations proposed for universal health-care legislation, your articles and editorials are enormously helpful.
Thank you for your consistent, journalistic standards. Nancy Dyson Shipp, Cambridge, Mass.