‘Floods’ of migrants has the wrong connotations, but the weather and the tides are definitely changing and unless radical policy measures are taken we’re going to see large changes in human population distributions.
This report finds that the world’s biggest emitters of green house gases are spending, on average, 2.3 times as much on arming their borders as they are on climate finance.
Climate change is upending people’s lives around the world, but when droughts, floods or sea level rise force them to leave their countries, people often find closed borders and little assistance.
People also flee from war, civil unrest and personal trauma, and they will increasingly run from natural and unnatural disasters, increasingly caused by climate change: unbearable heat, drought, flooding and crop failures. People also move for education and to join family members who have gone before them. The likelihood that they will be well received depends on how well they can fit in to the places where they land, and whether they are perceived to be adding to or taking from the existing community.
Fundamentally, migration has always been, and will always be, a part of human development. There is no use in casting it as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ phenomenon in itself: the notion of being ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ migration is a useless hook for popular debate and undermines the dignity of people who have migrated.
Brexit, the resurgence of the far-right, and the danger of a coming collapse of the European Union, have all escalated on the back of a global migrant crisis that was fuelled by climate change.
Many residents of government-subsidized housing have already become climate migrants, in New Orleans, Miami, Houston, and Puerto Rico.
International migration, then, is controversial every which way you choose to look at it. So let me take a deep breath and try to define a pragmatism of my own around the issue
The World Bank predicts we may see 140 million climate migrants before long, and given the chaos that even a million people fleeing the (partially drought-fueled) crisis in Syria created, we better come to grips.
Women on the border often have a different take on immigration issues: more of a ‘tend and befriend’ approach, a kind of common sense, needle-to-fabric mend. The responses of women to the Migrant Quilt exhibit define the soft heart of what it means to be human.
I am part of a group of 12 people living in the village of Saleres, Valle de Lecrín, close to Granada in Spain. We come from Europe, West Africa, South America and the Middle East. Some of us are called refugees, others expats, some locals, others migrants and some foreigners.
We are currently facing the most severe migration crisis in history. But this is only one dimension of a broader civilizational crisis. Thus, anti-racist movements should not focus solely on issues of human mobility rights, but also build new paths of solidarity with societies in the geopolitical Global South.