S1E126: Managing climate driven migration demands a new paradigm

  • 7 Jul 2024

Humans can and must cooperate to manage climate-driven mass migration, as a heating planet forces the poor and vulnerable, particularly in the global south, to move in order to survive. 

Every first and third Sunday of the month, The Straits Times analyses the beat of the changing environment, from biodiversity conservation to climate change.

The concept of the modern nation state is a relatively recent construct, and distorts humans' innate capacity - notwithstanding our tribalism - to cooperate. Yet, a collective response is necessary to manage the mass migration of the most vulnerable groups of people in poorer countries escaping from the adverse effects of climate change, said award-winning writer Gaia Vince. 

In this episode of Green Pulse, the author of Adventures in the Anthropocene and Nomad Century tells Nirmal Ghosh that the solution to dealing with looming mass emigration of desperate climate refugees is to redefine the concept of nations and citizenship, rather than turn them away. 

But nationalism defined in terms of ethnicity  - also known as ethnonationalism - is on the rise across the globe, observes Ms Vince. She argues that there is no basis for different races as the collective fate of societies is shared by global citizens of planet earth.  

Highlights of conversation (click/tap above):

2:02 "When a severe storm hit New York City, it was the poor black people living in basement apartments who drowned and died" - how climate change has a threat multiplier effect for the poorest and the most marginalised 

5:02 Ethno-nationalism is a social disease - it's not based on biology 

6:48 Climate change will only be solved when the human race come together as a species and address these global issues

13:46 Why easing human labour across borders can help to make emigration more gradual and safer 

17:20 Why our human food system, rather than climate change, makes the biggest assault on biodiversity loss

Produced by: Nirmal Ghosh (nirmal@sph.com.sg), Ernest Luis, Fa'izah Sani and Hadyu Rahim

Edited by: Hadyu Rahim

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