The last few years of severe weather and record temperatures have made sections of Earth increasingly difficult for humans to survive. Droughts, torrential rains, and increasing temperatures have driven millions from their homes. The thousands upon thousands of desperate people pouring across our borders are fleeing to our temperate climate. They are climate change refugees.
Back in the mid-1970s we lived in south Texas less than two hours from the Mexican border; we traveled to border towns and most of the major cities during those two years. Crossing into Mexico was a non-event, and the Mexican and Central American migration to the U.S. was just a small trickle.
Today that trickle has become a torrent, and if conditions causing the immigration problem continue, we will see a huge increase in migrants crossing our border. It's not just our problem. Hundreds of thousands of climate change refugees from sub-Saharan Africa are desperately using any means possible to migrate to Europe.
Climate change has degraded huge areas of our planet to the point where millions are facing starvation. As the global atmospheric temperature continues to increase, more areas will become unable to support humans. Areas with temperate climates have not been impacted by climate change to the extent the sub-tropics have.
The cry of "Secure our borders!" seems to be our only attempt to slow down the influx of migrants. If "the Wall" is the answer, how is Europe's Wall coming along? Well, ask a European, and you'll get laughed out of the room. Build a wall and the migrants will come in a boat.
There is only one way to reduce migration to the United States and Europe. If we really believe that our lifestyle will either solve the problem or make it worse, then we must consider daily actions either contributing to the problem or solving it. To make it simple, buy into the premise that your daily actions will determine the fate of our planet.
Every straw you use, every Styrofoam cup you drink from, is a nail driven into Earth's coffin. If you believe each beer can you toss out your truck window is adding to the number of migrants who enter the United States, would that make a difference in your actions?
Let's look at the end game. If we don't take drastic action, one day in the distant future, just as sure as today sub-Saharan Africans flood temperate Europe and Central American refugees rush to find a livable place to inhabit in North America, refugees from an impoverished, virtually uninhabitable Earth will journey to distant galaxies looking for a new home.
So the next time a server brings you a straw, don't just say, "I don't use straws." say instead: "Using a straw is like driving a nail in Earth's coffin." Would it embarrass you to say that? Or would you rather put up with the continual degrading of our planet?
This country has always responded to challenges. In World War II it was a unified America that won, and that's what it is going to take to turn the climate threat around. However, if our response continues at the rate it is now, trying to reverse drastic climate changes will be so difficult that it will dwarf our World War II response.
We have a fiddling-while-Rome-burns attitude, which will result in a minimum of a 5-degree increase in global atmosphere, causing displacement of millions of people that will overwhelm our social, religious, and government infrastructure to the point where martial law will be enforced in wide areas of the world.
Adopt a Driving a Nail in Earth's Coffin attitude. Do I have any takers?
Email Richard Mason at [email protected].