#climatechange, #refugees and business as usual

Photo courtesy www.wolaver.org

Photo courtesy http://www.wolaver.org

North Africa and the Middle East too hot for human life?

Yes, that is the upshot from this article from Quartz.

If you care about how your children will be living in 50 years time, I highly recommend reading the whole article.

If you don’t have the time to read the whole thing I’ll boil it down to this:

  • climate change will push the populations of North Africa and the Middle East out of North Africa and the Middle East,
  • those populations will become refugees
  • where will those refugees go?

The article ends with this:

The last couple years have shown that the world is pretty bad at managing large-scale migration, but that may turn out to be a mere trial-run for things to come.

As an Australian living half a world away from North Africa and the Middle East, I should be immune to the problems of that area, right?

Wrong.

If climate change makes North Africa and the Middle East unlivable, it will do the same in the Pacific area…in my own backyard.

There are island nations in the Pacific – e.g. Tuvalu – which are already close to being submerged. What happens to the populations of these island nations when their homes are finally covered by the sea?

I can tell you they will not wait around to go down with the ship. They will become refugees too.

Where will they go? I think Australia is a pretty safe bet.

Now multiply these two examples with the number of low-lying countries in the world, and you can see why we have to come up with some effective, efficient and equitable way of helping people move out of harm’s way.

Climate change is not going away. Refugees are not going away. This problem is not going away because, apart from the rhetoric, our governments have chosen to do nothing about climate change. It’s too hard. It’ll cost too much money. Voters won’t like it. So let’s do nothing and hope the problem goes away [see pic at the beginning of this post].

But in real life, you make a choice, even when you choose to do nothing. It’s called the default option. For us, that means ‘adaptation’.

Do you know what adaptation means? It means dealing with a disaster after it happens and living, or dying, with the consequences. It ain’t pretty and one of the inevitable consequences will be mass migrations, the likes of which we cannot even imagine.

I probably won’t be around to suffer too much, but what about the Offspring? Or your offspring?

And for those who do not believe that ‘we’ could possibly have an impact on the Earth’s climate, have a look at this:

Photo courtesy NASA

Photo courtesy NASA

This is the US of A, photographed at night, from space. See all those bright lights? Those are cities filled with people eating, sleeping, driving their cars, working. Those people are creating carbon dioxide [and other] pollutants just by living their lives. And the US is just one developed country.

As individuals, we are like individual sticks – easily broken. But put us all together and even a giant can’t break us. That is my version of the old Aesops fable.

But that story has a darker, more modern version as well, and it goes something like this – as individuals, we are powerless to destroy the Earth, but put all 8 billion of us together and the Earth doesn’t stand a chance.

Climate change >> refugees >> a problem we cannot ignore.

Meeks

 

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

16 responses to “#climatechange, #refugees and business as usual

  • Carrie Rubin

    And to think there are still those out there who deny climate change. It’s both mind-boggling and scary.

    Like

    • acflory

      Sadly, yes. The most effective blinkers are the ones we put on ourselves. Some time in the near-ish future we are all going to have to give up parts of our comfortable lives in order to live at all. It’s a pity self-interest is so short-sighted. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  • davidprosser

    I’m not so sure that climate change is being ignored by the current Governments. It may be they have news we don’t like it’s already gone too far and what they’re preparing to do is make plans to hold back the tide of immigrants until climate change takes care of the problem for them. I hope that the people of Tuvalu and other islands won’t be considered a threat too far and refused entry to Australia or anywhere else, but I fear the idea of a mass migration won’t even be considered as viable.
    Most Western countries won’t give real consideration to climate change because they’re afraid of the reaction from the people if things became in short supply, like energy. The US Government couldn’t put petrol up to a reasonable level to make it less likely people would buy gas guzzlers a few years ago because it wasn’t a popular move with the people and with the oil industry of course.
    We need Governments to make a real effort to change even though it won’t be popular and we need to see concrete plans of what they intend to do with mass migration.
    xxx Hugs Galore xxx

    Like

    • acflory

      I would feel happier if I thought any government anywhere had a ‘plan’, but I don’t. I think they’re all treading water until things get so bad that it will be politically impossible to do nothing. Of course, by then it will be far too late.
      We are such bright, intelligent lemmings.

      Liked by 2 people

  • MELewis

    Climate change is happening, although to what extent we are to blame for it or are able to mitigate it is open to debate. To me the real issue is people: ‘immigrants’ are human beings after all, just like us privileged ‘citizens’ of developed countries. Call me naïve, but I believe in a world without borders, where we apply science to our changing climate to provide enough food to feed everyone. It is possible, but feasible?

    Like

    • The Pink Agendist, née Mr. Merveilleux

      Absolutely true as climate change is multifactorial – but there is a very big *but*. In the 80’s and early 90’s this used to be a discussion about emissions and pollution. Behind the scenes it still is. The brilliant media move made by big businesses was to reframe the debate. The answer to should we pollute our air and water supply was a resounding no- so they shifted the debate to climate change and made it into a tribal/identity war of left vs right.
      What people really need to ask themselves is if they’re prepared to live with the consequences of pollution. Do we want Delhi-style air quality in Europe? That we can control 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      • acflory

        lol – you’re right but I’ll bet we didn’t take a hell of a lot of persuading. It’s almost as if we thrive on this sort of divisive conflict. And by ‘we’ I mean humans in general, not us in particular.

        Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Definitely possible, Mel. It’s the feasible part where my personal Pollyanna falls down. I just hope that the lessons of history are repeated when things go south – i.e. that we do pull together when we have to.

      Liked by 1 person

  • The Pink Agendist, née Mr. Merveilleux

    There’s no escaping the fact that more migratory crises are coming *within our lifetimes*. Climate is one of the culprits, but it’s not alone. Look how quickly Venezuela is descending into chaos. It started with medicine shortages, then food shortages, now they’ve instituted a 2 day work week to save energy… Their main electricity supply, El Guri dam, has record-low water levels.Their economy is expected to contract another 8% this year- meanwhile oil prices don’t look like they’re going up. Iraq is producing at record levels and Iran is joining the party. Political oppositions mean the cartel-like system they used to have which kept oil prices high is no longer viable. Saudi Arabia is going as far as proposing the sale of their state owned oil company.
    China can’t possibly support investment to the levels it did in the past three decades. That in turn will mean the countries they’d invested in in Asia, Africa and South America are going to be hit hard. It’s already the case in Brazil and sub-Saharan Africa.
    Last year was Mexico (and Western Europe’s) hottest year on record. Higher temperatures mean pollutants release faster into the air (chemical reactions are faster). And if La Nina does materialize as expected that’ll mean an intense hurricane season hitting central America and the US. Should I keep going?

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Except for La Nina, I’m right there with you. We’ve had El Nino, which means drought, and that means fire, amongst other things.
      Oh, and you forgot the refugee ‘problem’ in Europe. 😦
      All of these problems are global in nature and could be solved, or at least mitigated, if the UN were not such a toothless pussy cat. As things stand, I don’t feel wildly optimistic.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Hariod Brawn

    With corporate owned and sponsored mainstream media, and corporate sponsored politics, then the frames of reference for wider public consideration are of course largely stifled. I read the article in Quartz, for which, many thanks, Meeks.

    ” . . . global CO2 emissions continue to increase as fossil fuels remain the primary energy source. The argument is made that it is economically and morally responsible to continue fossil fuel use for the sake of raising living standards, with expectation that humanity can adapt to climate change and find ways to minimize effects via advanced technologies. We suggest that this viewpoint fails to appreciate the nature of the threat posed by ice sheet instability and sea level rise. If the ocean continues to accumulate heat and increase melting of marine-terminating ice shelves of Antarctica and Greenland, a point will be reached at which it is impossible to avoid large scale ice sheet disintegration with sea level rise of at least several meters. The economic and social cost of losing functionality of all coastal cities is practically incalculable. We suggest that a strategic approach relying on adaptation to such consequences is unacceptable to most of humanity, so it is important to understand this threat as soon as possible.”

    Source: http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/15/20059/2015/acpd-15-20059-2015.pdf

    Like

    • acflory

      Brilliant quote, Hariod. Thank you. I’ve actually bookmarked that for myself. Wish I’d had it handy the last time I had an -cough- discussion with someone about whether tech could save the world. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  • Candy Korman

    This is THE big issue of our time and it’s being shunted aside. As of this morning, Donald Trump has a chance to become president of the USA. If he wins the election in November, the world cannot count on ANY help with climate change, refugees, and much of else. I’m saddened and scared!

    Like

    • acflory

      Yes, and yes. Commiserations on Trump. My only hope where The Donald is concerned is that he is a lot smarter than he looks/acts. Nevertheless, we’ll all be watching your presidential election with a bit of fear. 😦

      Like

  • EllaDee

    Surely it’s not rocket science. Too many people. Too much consumption. Too much denial. Something’s gotta give.
    I like your stick fable. Pity we can’t all stick together to make positive change.

    Like

    • acflory

      Thanks.:) I was actually thinking of the people of London during the Blitz, and also of Australians who didn’t complain [much?] about rationing during the last war. History shows we’re capable of greatness…sometimes.

      Like

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