Monday, December 21, 2015

Climate Refugees

Did you notice the environmental subtext in the latest Star Wars movie contrasting the despoiled, brown desert world with the overgrown blue-green planet where freedom reigns?  It strains credulity to think that life could be sustained as depicted on the desert planet, while the blue-green planet offers a multitude of niches where creatures could luxuriate.  Earth is a mix of these two worlds, but with the desert gaining more ground every year.

Included in the desert are many cityscapes that are denuded of flora, paved over, serving as commons for swarms of seemingly unconcerned occupants.  This has been our direction since the time of Nimrod and the industrial revolution magnified the devastation many times over.  David Holmgren classes the two types of environment as results of brown- and green-tech.

Maryland is on course for more land "development" in the years ahead, but forest canopy cover is required to be a minimum of 40%, meaning we won't end up like the desert planet.  Other parts of our country will, namely the half west of the Mississippi (excluding the Northwest).  We and our neighboring states are sure to be the recipient of millions of internally displaced people (IDP's) coming from those deserted areas.  We will have to show them how to live a green-tech existence, e.g. forest gardening, if they are not to desertify our end of the continent, as well.

Masses of Arabs huddled around an occasional jihadist are yearning to be free of the civil wars in their desert homelands.  How able, not to mention willing, are we to rescue these refugees when there will soon be millions of our own in similar plights?  How about we settle any of these desert-acclimated migrants in the hot, dry West?  Perhaps they can show some Americans how to deal with the desert and when ours can't stand the heat any longer, maybe we will have learned how to accommodate refugees well enough to settle westerners in the florid east.

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