Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Green-leaning woman asked me at a stall today about our immigration policy.

She was concerned about the impact a growing population will have on the countryside.

Unfortunately a growing population will risk creating negative environmental impact wherever it happens. As soil degradation and sea levels increase, the population pressures on the land are going to be greater. The greater the poverty in a region, the greater the risk of conflict. Both contribute to migration.

We need to stop thinking ‘us’ and ‘them’; ‘our’ country and ‘their’country. The essential point of ecology is that the world is a single unit, that what happens in Antartica or Syria or China happens to us all.  We have become accustomed to think of countries and nations, but these are not natural occurrences. When we are concerned about environmental impact we need to think across borders.

At a philosophical level too, every human being is born on Earth and surely has a right to be anywhere on this planet.

As Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader, says over and over, we need to solve the environmental crisis first and foremost. We also need to spread consumption evenly, so that the poor consume a little more and the rich consume a lot less. These two achievements will have a much greater impact on migration than a few laws about who can and can’t cross a particular political border.

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