Emigration Won't Cure `Surplus Population'

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.

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