Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Earth’s Growing Migration Headache

The current massive migrations from North Africa and ISIS-invested lands in the Middle East toward Europe are the result of ultra-violence and political desperation. Things have gotten so bad that people are willing to place the lives and the lives of their children at risk to climb on to severely over-crowded boats, travel in locked trucks, where death lurks at every moment. The images of ever-increasing hordes of such migrants confronting trains, hostile paramilitary forces, and theoretically open borders sealed with thick reams of barbed wire and deep feelings of hopelessness and alienation over deeply uncertain futures in lands deeply unwelcoming to these desperate masses are all over the airways and the Web.
Well, the world better get used to such massive movements of people, all leaving horrific conditions behind in a desperate attempt to stay alive. For too many, staying in their homeland is becoming a guarantee of either a high risk of violence, torture and death or a slow extinguishment of life by an agonizing starvation as crops die, water disappears and land turns into permanent desert. Children with bloated bellies, eyes closing in their final moments, flies buzzing around their barren blank eyes are the new face of global climate change.
The hordes of assembling migrants-in-the-making are massive. They see lands not plagued by war, fields green with crops, reservoirs rippling with water, and cities filled with potential jobs as the new Holy Grail. These people are forced to find hope in places far from where they were born and raised. Their movement has been and will be resisted, opposed by mostly-Western nations hell-bent on stemming what they see has a life altering invasion of people they cannot possibly support without major personal sacrifices. The migrants, on the other hand, have absolutely nothing to lose. With death as their realistic major alternative, their eyes are focused on survival.
The fossil-fuel burning industrial revolution, the construction of large power-plants, highways filled with vehicles, still unattainable luxuries to well over a billion people on earth, are the product of a Western-led march towards progress. The Western world profited greatly from the industrial revolution, which generated the greenhouse gasses that are decimating farmland and the subsistence farmers who try desperately to pull failing crops from arid dirt.
“As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned at a recent State Department-led conference on climate change in the Arctic, the scenes of chaos and heartbreak in Europe will be repeated globally unless the world acts to mitigate climate change… ‘Wait until you see what happens when there's an absence of water, an absence of food, or one tribe fighting against another for mere survival,’ Kerry said.
“World leaders have long warned that natural disasters and degraded environments linked to climate change could -- indeed, have already started to -- drive people from their homes. UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres declared in 2009 that climate change will create millions of refugees and internally displaced populations. ‘Not only states, but cultures and identities will be drowned,’ Guterres said.
“Displacement is already happening in some parts of the world. Almost 28 million people on average were displaced by environmental disasters every year between 2008 and 2013, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center -- roughly three times as many as were forced from their homes by conflict and violence.
“It's difficult to predict exactly how many more may be displaced as climate change progresses. ‘When global warming takes hold there could be as many as 200 million people overtaken’ by the consequences, professor Norman Myers of Oxford University argued in a 2005 paper. For comparison’s sake, 350,000 migrants sought entry into the European Union in 2014, the International Organization for Migration estimated.” Huffington Post, September 5th.
Too many of the refugees are people of color. Black or brown, Arabs and Africans, migrating Central Asians. The words are about “secure borders” and “immigration reform,” but the thought of impoverished darker-skinned masses, many practicing what piles of Westerners see as “culture-destroying” Islamic religious beliefs with conquest on their minds, is antithetical to everything these Westerners hold dear.
In our own lands, cries abound to seal our brown-skinned border, which harbors hordes of “malevolent” (according to the Donald) Mexicans and Central Americans, some running from the drug cartels well-armed with arms easily purchased in the United States at unregulated gun shows and smuggled south.
There is almost no attention paid to the white-skinned border to the north, and the fact that those south of the border are almost all devout Christians is almost never mentioned. There are some facts that we might not want to hear, like the crime rate for those undocumented entrants is lower than applicable to the general population or that the net movement into the United States has steadily declined over the years as the American economy has contracted.
As Americans, we are truly lucky: there are no nearby enemy states, and our two massive international boundaries are with pretty friendly trading partners. We do not have massive civil displacement in our neighborhood. We do not have religious wars in our hemisphere. We are facing “migration light” compared to the building turmoil and desertification festering in the Eastern Hemisphere, rage and hopelessness that cannot help but make life in Europe, Asia and Africa vastly more complicated.
The West, now joined by India and China, has been the primary cause of the greenhouse effect that has created most of this destructive climate change. And in the end, it will be the West (with its new Asian co-conspirators) that will pay the accruing debt from the benefits extracted for over a century and a half. And we will pay, one way or the other, whether we like it or not.
I’m Peter Dekom, and it is indeed time to pay the piper, with costs mounting to the extent we do not address the root-cause of most of global climate change.

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