There was an article published on “Overpopulation drives boats” (26th July 2013) which I would like to respond to, as I was asked by Peter Strachan to comment on it.
Firstly, I am not going to talk about numbers and stats, because this is considering peoples’ lives and human dignity. There is underlying ethics of care, or any other ethics, which do not permit me to do so. The very fact that we talk about numbers and quotas and so on, when a human life is on the line reminds me too much of the times when the Russian Government dealt with the Moscow theatre hostage crisis on 23rd October 2002, when the Government counted casualties in percentages and although the number of victims was in hundreds it was declared a successful operation.
Secondly, can we, please, stop talking about population just at this very moment and if those who are from the sustainable and stable population parties have anything to say, at least hold off a few days after mourning for those ”boat people”. Amen!
If Australia gets flooded with refugees, which seems to be the main worry of the authors, then let it sink – at least I’ll die knowing that we’ve done the right thing. And if Australians are so much in favour of refusing refugees (judging on the big number of support expressed in the comment section of that article) an entry to Australia, then I am seriously re-thinking my commitment to this country. I am a global citizen, as a lot of other young people, and those who are left in Australia, can have a happy and “rich” life with their resources. But I don’t want to be part of it.
The Greens and their supporters have some morals and ethics, which obviously do not allow them to stand behind a self-centred, unreasonable and sickening debate. The streets of Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and the other capital cities already saw a number of rallies of people to express their views, of which I am proudly part of.
It is now a long time overdue to talk about the contribution that recent migrants and refugees make to the Australian economy, society and environment, rather than the dangers they pose. It is now time to talk about the quality, rather than the quality. The type of game, which Australian long and short-term residents are in, is a different from the game, that they are used to play 50 or 100 years ago. When are we going to finally recognise that the Australian continent is not any more the isolated place (nor it will be) that was in the last century, but a vibrantly connected socially, culturally, economically and environmentally to the rest of the world?
And what does Australia, and its people have to loose from that recognition? We can only benefit. Australia does have a “population policy”: it is called migration policy; simply because over half (and 60% in WA) of the population is made of overseas arrivals in 2012 (ABS 2012). Fact.
The alternative is too scary and gloomy to even consider – the most isolated continental city over a million on the world becomes the most isolated city, both culturally and economically. It is a recipe for a disaster – and I refuse to be part of it. However, we are not going to solve the global environmental problems this way.
Meanwhile– the North Pole just melted on the 22nd July 2013. Are we still thinking that we live in isolated, fragmented, disconnected parts of the world? When are we going to recognise that we live on the same planet as everyone else? Population debate, if it happens, needs to happen on a global level, and not on small corners of the wealthiest places on the planets in small rooms with people with limited exposure to the rest of the world. It is beyond me to see the link between “the populations”, i.e. migration policies in Australia and “the population debate” in the rest of the world as it is not communicated through any of the population parties.
There is something deeply embedded in me called humanity which does not allow me to align to any of the views of the population parties.
Members of the Stable Population party believe that sustainable development is an oxymoron, meaning that all of our efforts for a better future are doomed by presumption. I choose to believe that there the better future lies NOT in stopping the boats, but in getting along with each-other, which is at the heart of sustainability (Vertovec 2001). Until we do this, we cannot move forward.
Managing environmental resources, including renewable energy, freshwater, clean air, are the responsibility of all us, global environmental citizens. Migrants and refugees are just as much part of this responsibility, as everyone else. The depletion of environmental resources is not the fault of migrants and refugees, but our responsibility. Investing in renewable energy, less consumerism, green economies, including recycling and safe disposal of waste, together with creating vibrant cultural communities are some of the keys for solving the environmental crisis, we live in.
- A debate on population and refugees is highly unethical (especially in the current sensitive political climate and loss of human lives).
- Population debate in Australia cannot in any way solve the global population problem (which is the stable population’s party main concern)
- Getting along with each-other is at the heart of sustainability; this is the premises for green economy, for a different mindset that accepts that renewable energy future is possible, with no nuclear waste and clean air and freshwater resources.