Tony Garnett • Blog Posts

Think these refugees are a problem?

You ain’t seen nothing yet! The gathering storm’s building.

The sufferings so far are mere hints of what is to come as it gathers momentum. The precipitating cause of each mini disaster may seem to be political – a civil war here, a spontaneous uprising there – but underneath you find land degradation, toxic poisoning, rising sea levels and “natural” disasters exacerbated by human action.

Over a third of the earth’s land surface is in various stages of desertification. The hardest hit is in the developing world, affecting the poorest and least able to cope. That means starvation, mass population movements, political upheaval and emigration.

Few countries have had, until recently, any laws regulating toxic wastes. The threat of nuclear contamination is awesome. Humans are poisoning all living creatures. It’s like a massive murder-suicide pact.

A 1 metre rise in sea levels would mean about 50 million refugees. Some experts say it’s possible, others inevitable. Only climate change deniers dismiss the possibility.

We exacerbate the effects of natural disasters: modern farming decreases the soil’s capacity to store water; lumbering and mining alter drainage patterns, making run off unpredictable; we see in Britain each year flood damage caused by human stupidity.

@GeorgeMonbiot, @CarolineLucas and @TheGreenParty have warned us for years, back to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in  1962 – the book that alerted me all those years ago.

Now I’m 80.

Will we wake up and decide that after all life is preferable to painful suicide, before I die?

It’s not looking good.

Come on, young people. We failed. You can succeed.

You have nothing to lose but your children’s lives.