Eight million people live in Switzerland. It may not seem much, but this is a small country.
The Alpine nation has now a high density population due to the demographic boom through immigration that it has recently experienced, with an increase in its population size from 7.2 million in 2000 to 8 million in 2012, and a rise of 140% from 1990 to now.
Moreover, almost a quarter, or 1.8 million people, are foreign, and one person in five in the Swiss Confederation does not have a Swiss passport.
The country's environmentalists are now acting like an improbable nationalist right-wing bulldog against foreign invasion. The organization Ecology and Population (Ecopop) has collected 120,700 signatures, more than the 100,000 required by law, to call for a referendum to limit the growth of the population, and therefore the number of immigrants, to 0.2% per annum, and to demand that a tenth of foreign aid be given to birth control.
The right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) has also collected enough signatures to force a referendum that demands an even more restricted limit on immigration. By law the number of referendums cannot exceed 4 per year.
Ecopop, which stresses the fact that its members are not racist or xenophobe, embraces the unfounded, debunked theories of American biologist Paul Ehrlich exposed in his 1968 book The Population Bomb (Amazon USA) (Amazon UK) . Growth by 0.2% per annum of the population would be considered a level compatible with the preservation of natural resources of the country.
"Switzerland currently has one of the densest populations on the planet, with 480 inhabitants per square kilometre in 'Mittelland'," or central Switzerland, Ecopop leader Andreas Thommen told AFP, insisting "this development is not at all sustainable in the long-term."If the group manages to overcome some bureaucratic problems and legal issues, the referendum will be held in 2015. According to an internet survey of 7,653 users, 75% said they were in favor of the imposition of the quota, 20% against and 5% undecided. Which means that, to date, the referendum is sure to pass.
How ironic if immigration in a Western European country could finally and drastically be reduced not for the real reasons of preservation of our highly precious culture, values, religion and political principles from developing countries' populations with different views of the world, in particular Muslim populations, but on the basis of a fallacious - but fashionable with the in-crowds - environmental dogma!