A possie in Aussie

January 20, 2010

Soon we will be fighting for immigrants – any immigrants

The new documentary movie The Demographic Winter (narrated in that ‘prophetic/lone voice of reason’, as one commenter says), explores the coming downfall of humanity caused because we are not reproducing sufficiently to  sustain our economies.

The movie implies that anyone who is not having children is not doing their duty.

Sociological Images, a great blog on Context.org, featured this movie, and pointed out how it is anti-gay, anti any sex outside marriage. It is, indeed, suspected of being propaganda for the Christian Right.

This is, however, a real and important issue. Its effects will overcome the barriers, both actual and ideological, against immigration of the marginalised from the Global South, because within the next few decades all economically-developed countries will be desperate for workers, from anywhere, of any colour and of any skill level. The recent sharp increases in skilled migration to Australia are just the beginning.

Sociological Images, and people who comment on the blog, usually give insightful reports, but this time paid little attention to what I see as the real issue here. Why assume that growth must continue?

Yes, the current wealthy lifestyles of the Global North are dependent on growth. And that means growth in numbers of people. But the world is already over-crowded and dying of the stress.

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December 9, 2009

What does Abbott intend to do to boat people: Kill them?

A dark cloud has gathered over my head in the past few days, and its name is Abbott’s Liberals (shame that they further besmirch such and honourable adjective!).

Work ‘choices’, climate denial, and a harder line on asylum seekers. But what can a harder line be?

I have written about Sharman Stone’s hardline rants, but  apparently she is a moderate:

“It will be essential that the moderates that remain in the party continue to steer through the middle ground, ensuring that the real grassroots of the party continues to build in multicultural communities,” Dr Stone said. “

Immigration was so difficult because you were sandwiched between the left and the right wing of the party. I happened to believe that I was steering the right path and I had a lot of support for that, including, of course, from the leader at the time.” Liberals steer to the right on boats

As blogger Armagnac Daddy (yes, that’s the name!) says, how much more draconian could the Liberal policy be?

“Do they want to kill them? I’m being serious, there’s not much left. Do they want us to finally, once and for all, dump the Convention itself and its core rule of non refoulement? Just send people back to war zones, overt oppression, torture, genocide, whatevs?”

December 5, 2009

Stop squabbling over Emissions Trading or we will be flooded by climate refugees

Climate change has been centre stage this week in Australian politics, with careers being made and lost over the best ways to counter its effects.

The other ‘hot’ issue, asylum seekers, took a back seat for a few days, but will no doubt be back on page one soon and will focus on how to stop them arriving.

The ‘right to leave’, which was the dominant discourse and driver of UNHCR policy until the early 1990s, has changed to the ‘right to remain’ in one’s home country. This change has led to the increasing protection of borders, rather than of people who are fleeing  persecution, and lip service to the idea of ‘preventive protection’, that is supporting changes in the source nation to ‘dry up’ the flow of refugees.

At the Barcelona Climate Change Talks 2009 last month, displacement related to climate change was addressed. Parties were urged to begin to address  “internal and cross-border migration and displacement” and identify ways to “respond to the needs of affected populations” who are displaced by the effects of climate change.

Refugees International sums up the situation facing us:

There are currently 41.2 million people displaced by conflict. Estimates indicate that 50 million to 1 billion people will be displaced by climate change over the next 50 years. The most immediate threats from climate change are in the form of storms of increasing intensity, such as Cyclone Nargis in Burma; greater incidence of drought and floods that make traditional livelihoods unsustainable; and increased conflicts over access to limited resources. The war in Darfur derives, in part, from conflict over scarce resources as the desert expands. Other dramatic impacts are also predicted in the long term, such as the disappearance of island states like the Maldives. Forced Displacement Must Be Included in Copenhagen Climate Agreement

Looks like another reason to stop squabbling about climate tactics.

July 31, 2009

75 million climate refugees – and they don’t want to come to Australia

The ABC Frontline program reported this week that climate change could produce 75 million refugees in the Asia Pacific region in the next 40 years. 2. 75 million to flee climate change: report

The island nations of the Asia Pacific are in the front line of climate change –the Torres Strait and Pacific Island nations Tuvalu, Micronesia and Kiribati.

Aid agency Oxfam Australia and think-tank the Australia Institute  are calling on Australia as the region’s richest country and one of the world’s biggest polluters to make deep cuts to its greenhouse gas emissions right now.

Andrew Bartlett reports on a forum on the issue held this week in his Crikey blog The Frontline of Climate change: Pacific Island peoples

Andrew says that the staple diet of fish, coconuts and bananas are all under threat from climate change. 

But they don’t want to be refugees.

Ms Marstella Jack, the former Attorney-General of the Federated States of Micronesia, emphasised that her people don’t want to leave their islands, but they may not have any choice.

February 19, 2009

Refugees, climate and economics: Guterres

Filed under: Climate change,refugee — Nayano @ 9:20 am
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UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres briefed the UN Security Council last week about the increasing pressures on the UNHCR.

IN 2006, when Guterres last briefed the Security Council, refugee numbers were the lowest they had been in 25 years. This has changed dramatically, with numbers now at 11 million.

Guterres said that this has mostly been due to the conflicts in Iraq and Somalia. Crises stretching from south and south-west Asia, through the Middle East to Sudan, Chad and the Horn of Africa – account for about two-thirds of the world’s refugees.

The causes of forced displacement have become even more complex and interrelated, and exacerbated by climate change and now by the impact on the developing world of the current global economic recession. UNHCR News

February 9, 2009

Victoria burns

Filed under: Climate change — Nayano @ 7:41 am
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More than 100 killed in one day. Thousands abandoning their homes. Many hundreds of homes destroyed. Thousands injured.

Could be any war zone. But it is the result of one day of bushfire in Victoria, south eastern Australia.

I feel distraught for the victims. Fearful that the same fate might be coming to the area where I live in South Australia where the terrain is just like Kinglake, Victoria, the worst hit. And I feel ashamed that I am thinking of myself, and have that weird ‘survivors’ guilt’ as well.

I also remember the refugees I work with, and realise the platitudes with which I have described their experiences. Watching survivors’ stories on the Age website gives another hard lesson that whatever our imagination, this never can match the stories of those who experience horror first-hand.

Thanks to all the bloggers who tell their stories from the midst of warzones, and tell the truth from the refugee camp of Kakuma.

February 8, 2009

Who will take Australian refugees?

Filed under: Climate change,refugee — Nayano @ 7:52 am
Tags: ,

Energy Secretary Steven Chu is featured on the Global Warming Change.org blog warning of not more agriculture at all in the state, and cities being abandoned.

The LA Times quotes Chu:

“I don’t think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen,” Chu said.

I had much the same thought this morning when I woke up to the news of  “Absolute devastation: Victoria gutted by deadly bushfires.”

“Victoria is braced for a day of mourning, with the death toll from the state’s rampant bushfires expected to pass 40. Fourteen deaths have been confirmed so far. Six people have been killed at Kinglake, four at Wandong, three at Strathewen and one at Clonbinane.

The number of houses destroyed is also expected to climb, with at least 100 already confirmed, and steady reports of destruction continuing to filter in.”

This news came on top of what has been nearly two weeks of absurd temperatures of up to 46 degrees in Adelaide, with co many heat-related deaths that the city morgue could no longer cope, on top of little or no rain for many months. I began to wonder if the time was coming when we Australians would become the unthinkable: refugees from climate change.

(See my previous post “climate change, migration and environmental refugees’)

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