Is this not my worst nightmare realized? Is this not what I have been warning you about? Screaming about? Check out the Headline of the January 30th, 2007 edition of the Vancouver Sun: "BC FACES FUTURE FLOOD OF 'CLIMATE REFUGEES': RCMP, Police report warns of a potentially overwhelming influx of people if global warming forces millions to flee Bangladesh and other countries." Ecologist William Rees calls the report a credible scenario and says that a one metre rise in sea level would translate into tens, maybe hundreds of millions of refugees globally. Current illegal Mexican immigration into the US would seem like a picnic in comparison.
But here's where Rees is wrong, dead wrong. He goes on to say, like all soft-headed greens, that we would have a serious moral obligation to assist them. No, we have a serious moral obligation not to swamp our own lifeboat. At present we can't sustain the 32 million who are here and if we take on the tens of millions who want to clamor aboard we will not sustain them either. We'll simply succeed in drowning all of us. There are no moral dilemnas here. To be compassionate toward ourselves we must be callous to those who, I must say this, will likely be just the first 100 million of 5 1/2 billion to die of other causes ---oil and gas depletion, biodiversity collapse, epidemics-- in the next two decades. The fortress mentality is a morally defensible one when your very survival is at stake. If we don't start thinking that way as a nation, then people will start thinking that way as individuals. In fact survivalism is rampant on the internet. Having given up on the politicians, people in Canada are talking about establishing bunkers or remote homesteads and provisioning them with food and munitions to ward off starving marauders. Can I imagine myself shooting refugees from the third world or a Canadian city? No, but I could imagine myself shooting the Green quisling who opened the floodgates to let them in. I can imagine shooting a Kathryn Molloy of the Sierra Club, who was so concerned over Christmas that "Rudolf" the Rocky Mountain Cariboo would lose his habitat that she wanted my ten dollar donation to save it, but no doubt would be one of those Greens who would help 20 million Bangledeshis onto our lifeboat and squeeze Rudolph's habitat out of existence.
With the kind of numbers Rees is talking about, you can forget about your "Steady State Economy". Growth will be exponential. You can also forget about reducing greenhouse emissions. Whatever your emission standards, there will just be more of everything generating emissions. Sixty, seventy, eighty million Canadians will crush remaining habitat and exhaust remaining fisheries. And you'd better hope that there's enough oil left to allow transport and import of foodstuffs, because remaining farmland will be covered in the housing needed to shelter the tens of millions of refugees. Even now the apple orchards outside London Ontario are being chopped down for housing and apples are being brought in from Mexico. What are Londoners going to do for apples when the oil runs out?
It seems that you will have to make a decision. You will have to soon decide whether you are an authentic environmentalist or a refugee advocate. Whether your commitment is to environmental rights first, or whether your priority after all the green bafflegab is really just human rights. Is man's relationship to nature not more fundamental and primary than man's relationship to man? You will also have to re-examine the meaning of compassion. Is it compassionate to place greater importance on the welfare of outsiders at the cost of the welfare of those close to home?
This is an example of the Great Divide I have been talking about. It's an unresolved argument amongst the passengers in our lifeboat that had better be settled before the refugees swim toward us.
There is one more thing about that RCMP police report that disturbs me. It talks about the "expected" flood of climate change refugees into Canada. Why is it expected? Why is it assumed that we'll be taking them in? Will Canadians have any say in this matter? Just because an ecologist at UBC says its our moral responsibility, and 10,000 churchmen and academics agree with him does that mean its government policy? Its funny how decision-makers have learned to take us for granted! Or will they simply overwhelm us? How will they arrive--as boat people? And they can't be repelled? Its odd that in the Second World War we put a million men in uniform, 10% of our population, and spent 10s of thousands of their lives purportedly to ward off a foreign invasion, but when faced with an invasion of this danger we would lie down and roll over? We send troops to fight in Afghanistan but we wouldn't defend our own borders? Help me out with this scenario. Tell me why it must be inevitable that we would accept an influx of tens of millions of climate change refugees.