Migration is a solution to the climate crisis, not a problem, says expert | Science | New

UK won’t respond to labor demands without immigration, says expert

Mass migration is not a negative consequence of the climate crisis, but a solution, which must be grasped and planned for. This is the argument made by environmental expert Gaia Vince, author of the recent book “Nomad Century: How to Survive the Climate Upheaval”. According to her, large-scale grassroots movements have the potential to solve many societal problems and pave the way to a fairer, safer and more prosperous world.

Speaking at the New Scientist Live festival last weekend, Ms Vince began by drawing attention to the extreme weather conditions experienced here in the UK this summer – with recorded temperatures exceeding 104F (40C) for the first time.

She said: “Wildfires spiraling out of control is something we are not used to in Britain – and we are certainly not adapted to it.

“And that’s the kind of weather we’re going to start having. He broke all records.

“People were showing how they could fry eggs on their patio or on the hood of their car, things like that. And, well, I would like to remind you that we are made of the same material as eggs – so very high temperatures are deadly.

“In fact, the Office of National Statistics recorded a 21% increase in the death rate for this week, compared to the previous year.”

Mass migration not a negative consequence of the climate crisis, but a solution, says expert (Image: Getty Images)

Britain was far from alone in feeling the obvious effects of climate change this year – with droughts in the US, heatwaves and floods across swaths of India and Pakistan, while that Italy saw a glacier collapse in the Dolomites, killing eleven people.

Ms Vince said: “So this is our world at 1.2 degrees – some scientists say it’s probably around 1.35 degrees now – above the pre-industrial average.

“Take a look at it – because it’s the best it gets downhill from here. We will experience extreme conditions more often and more severely.

Human-caused climate change will lead to what Ms Vince has dubbed “the four horsemen of the Anthropocene” – fire, heat, drought and floods.

These are, she says, phenomena that will make it impossible to work outside after a certain hour in the morning, that will make farming difficult, that will see homes along rivers and coasts washed away and that will see human life endangered.

“What this means is that large parts of the world – across Asia, Africa and the Americas – will become unlivable.”

Gaia Vince speaks to New Scientist Live

Ms Vince made her case at the New Scientist Live festival in London last weekend (Image: New Scientist Live)

According to Ms. Vince, the ramifications of this change are issues that are not being adequately addressed. The solution she sees, however, is migration – “on an unprecedented scale”.

Migration, she explained, is “our old survival adaptation, and we need to start using it properly. What I’m proposing is managed mass migration.

She added: “It’s quite extreme, quite radical. And I’m sure at least some of you are a little skeptical about whether it would work and whether it’s needed anyway.

However, Ms Vince notes, the UN already predicts that perhaps as many as 1.5 billion people will be forced to move by 2050.

She added: “We need to find a way to manage and facilitate this mass migration and build a better global society – rather than a society that has just been shaken from one crisis to another, where we respond to it. literally. It’s too late then.

“We need to help people in the most affected areas get to safety – and in most cases that means moving to northern towns.

“In some places that’s going to mean expanding existing cities, and in other places entirely new cities are going to have to be built.”

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A forest fire in the United States

Climate change leads to extreme weather like forest fires, pictured (Image: Getty Images)

The proposed migration, Ms Vince notes, will be a “big shake up”.

However, she said, “I have good news. And it is that migration, when well planned, makes great economic sense.

“For migrants, migration is the best way out of poverty because it allows people with little money and opportunities to move to places where they can earn more, and there are more ‘opportunities”.

On the other hand, she notes, “migrants also really help the wealthy countries they move to, as immigrants benefit host societies culturally, socially, economically and culinaryally.”

Without the migrants, she quips, “just think about what we would eat. They would only be turnips, probably. Terrible!”

Floods in Pakistan

Pictured: Floods in Pakistan (Image: Getty Images)

Migration, Ms. Vince continued, serves to create new jobs and increase productivity.

She added: “Some economists calculate that a borderless world would at least double gross domestic product.”

“And keep in mind that in some countries around the world we have this huge demographic problem where we don’t have enough babies to support the aging population.

In fact, in Japan, she noted, sales of adult diapers exceed those for babies.

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The cover of Gaia Vince's book, Nomad Century

Ms Vince is the author of ‘Nomad Century: How to Survive the Climate Upheaval’ (Picture: Amazon.co.uk)

Ms Vince continued: “As populist and nationalist as a leader is, whatever their anti-migration and anti-immigration rhetoric, you can be sure that behind the scenes they are also trying to bring in more people.

“The reality is that we just don’t have enough people to do farm work or health care, drive our trucks – everything.”

“Migration solves a lot of problems. The result is that planned mass migration could produce safer, fairer and wealthier global societies.

“Migrants are not a security issue. It’s an economic problem, it’s a labor problem and, of course, a humanitarian problem.

“We urgently need a new global body to manage this global population of workers – people who want to get ahead where the work is – and where the work is, by definition that means that ‘they need workers.’

Ms Vince concluded: “Migration is inevitable, even if the scale and timing are not.

“We still have choices. To avoid talking about it, to avoid thinking about it, to avoid discussing our options, it’s a choice.

“We have mass migration. Another choice is a future where climatic events continue to lead to misery, death and conflict.

“It’s not a choice I want for myself or my children. I don’t want them to be drawn into another border war – I would much rather they lived in a denser city with a shared vision of a new, larger, multicultural society.

“It’s time we talked about it. It is time for us to start a conversation so that we can democratically decide on the solutions we want.

Nomad Century: How to Survive the Climate Upheaval is published by Allen Lane.

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