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And now for some bad news: Climate Change will Cause Apocalyptic Migration: ProPublica


photo by arek socha courtesy of

I have some bad news.  It’s not about a virus.  This comes from ProPublica, a web site devoted to bad news, and was published July 23.  It is titled, “Where Will Everyone Go?” and it was developed by The New York Times Magazine with support from the Pulitzer Center.  Basically, what it says (in a very long essay) is that, as the climate gets hotter, people who are forced out of Central America by drought will try to come here to the United States.  People who are forced out of Texas will try to go to Minnesota, and so on.

There are two ways to respond to this.  The first is to give development aid to the affected countries (especially places like El Salvador) to promote their resilience.  The second is to build walls to try to keep them from coming here.

If you try to stop them from coming, many of them will die.  The ones who don’t will be so desperate that they will eventually overwhelm the walls and come here anyway.  The situation will get worse with time.

That’s the gist of it.  To make this argument, the writers have developed mathematical models that show how people will respond to the climate change (global warming) by urbanizing as the land they live on becomes unable to support them.  Urbanized people will become more desperate and start to move north.  They have been doing it on a small scale for years, and the scale will gradually get larger.  The only uncertainty is how long it will take and how many of them will come.

I can’t make this up, it’s the stuff of horror movies, the kind that involve zombies and apocalypses.  Day of the Dead comes to mind.  But unlike a horror movie, it’s real.  It just unfolds over a long, slow period of time, which makes each horror more visceral, more painful, and less cinematic.

The only logical way to respond to this threat is to get a government in place that can deal with it.  First, we have to allow a certain number of people to come to this country.  After all, if we don’t allow immigration, our population will shrink– this is literally true, there are fewer native Americans being born every year than are dying.  We have to provide for immigration on a measured basis to make up for population loss and create opportunities for economic growth.

Second, we have to send development aid– not just money, but experts who can help set up greenhouse growing facilities and dig wells.  Don’t just send money, it will simply add to the corruption.

Third, we have to work on reversing our carbon dioxide problem.  Solar power, wind power, even nuclear power (although that’s just too expensive, really), electric cars, electric everything.  Phase out the internal combustion engine and replace it with the electric engine.  This is sure to give our economy a chance to really grow through innovative development.

We have to do all these things, because if we don’t, it will become just another horror movie– only it will be real and it will be here.

(You can look up ProPublica yourself and read the article on their website.  I read it on my cellphone and I don’t have the time right now to build a link for you.  Maybe tomorrow.)

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