Things are rough in Central America. The thousands of people who are currently headed north the the USA are fleeing violence and economic hardship, but the reasons for a devolving socioeconomic environment are bigger than many people realize.
Climate change isn’t necessary the sole factor in the migrant crisis that is evolving on the US southern border, but it certainly plays a role. The idea of climate change is often linked with human-led global warming. In this case, the simple fact that the climate in Central America is changing has pushed throngs of regular people from lands they have occupied for generations.
No Rain, No Money
Jesús Canan is an indigenous Ch’orti’ Maya who farmed a small plot of land near the Copán ruins in western Honduras. He is headed north because, “It didn’t rain this year. Last year it didn’t rain,” and, “My maize field didn’t produce a thing. With my expenses, everything we invested, we didn’t have any earnings. There was no harvest,” according to an interview he gave to The Guardian.
Climate change doesn’t mean tidal waves from the Hollywood blockbuster “The Day After Tomorrow,” it means poor subsistence farmers hitting the road because they are quite literally starving. Staple Central American crops like coffee and maize simply won’t grow in arid conditions, and the marginally higher temperatures are leading to blights that can’t be effectively countered.
Hungry Bellies Make a Mob Desperate
The people who are fleeing Central America aren’t doing so because they want to leave their homes. Thousands of Central Americans are looking at the USA as a solution to their problems because there isn’t anything left for them in their native land, and the last thing they have left is the dream of a better life in the US.
Unfortunately for them, the reality of life in the USA is a far cry from the stories they are told in their local communities. The USA is definitely closed to emigrants under President Trump, and they will be met with lethal force on the southern border of the United States.
Our world is facing a crisis of carrying capacity. The overall ability of our planet to produce food isn’t expanding. The present population is attempting to find a way to survive and reproduce, but in many areas, this is simply impossible.
A Discount on Life
It has come to light that tens of thousands of migrants that are moving from Africa to Southern Europe have simply disappeared. For the first time in modern history, there are slave markets in Libya. People from Southern Africa are routinely traded like animals in a failed state that is a direct result of NATO military intervention.
The times when an emigrant could move to a richer country, and make a better life are long gone. There isn’t enough to go around anymore. As Angela Merkel’s recent defeat has demonstrated, the developed world is done bailing out the poor and disadvantaged, because there aren’t enough resources to save the billions of people that got dealt a bad hand at birth.
The idea of carrying capacity isn’t a part of the popular discourse, but it will be. In a world where there are too many mouths and not enough food, the end result will be more migrants, and far fewer options for the poorest among us.
In the picture: Honduran migrants taking part in a caravan heading to the US, walk alongside the road in Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico, on 24 October. Photograph: Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images