I’ve been working on climate justice for over 20 years. I have been just as dedicated to immigration issues since I was in high school, 50 years ago. And the two are absolutely linked. As the climate becomes more unstable and hostile, millions of people are going to move from the global ‘south’, that is, near the equator, to the global ‘north’, that is, the developed, industrial North, which tends to be white-dominated. This will result in the multi-cultural plurality of the North, where white people no longer dominate, numerically, culturally or politically. I feel very strongly about this. If you’re an immigrant: It doesn’t matter what race you are; you could be any race. It doesn’t matter what religion you are; you could be any religion, or no religion. It doesn’t matter what gender you are; you could be any gender. It doesn’t matter what language you speak; you could be any ethnicity. It doesn’t matter where you were born. You’re not “from here”, but you belong here. No one is illegal. What I advocate for is the human right to mobility, to move when necessary, where necessary, in order to assure survival.
I came to this conviction about immigration because I have been an immigrant, in Canada; and my family members have been immigrants, in America. I know the experience of being an immigrant because I was one.
When I took Refuge vows as a Buddhist, I was instructed that “to take Refuge was to become a Refugee, with all the other Refugees.” That was to be my condition thenceforward as a Buddhist; to be a Refugee. Since I had been an actual refugee, I knew what that felt like.
Mass migration is the global climate crisis in human form. The mass immigration of millions of people, whether driven by climate change; political and economic oppression; racial, ethnic or gender violence, is the greatest challenge to human civilizations in the next 100 years. That’s why, as Editor of Engage!, I’m focused on these twin crises: immigration and climate justice. The Action Alerts I send out will focus primarily on these two issue areas, and related issues.