4 Activists Explain Why Migrant Justice Is Climate Justice | Teen Vogue
A UNHCR report revealed that, by the end of 2016, there were 65.6 million displaced people who had fled their homelands because of violence, human rights violations, and environmental disasters that are intensified by the climate crisis. Since 2008, an average of 26.4 million people have been displaced from their homes by extreme weather disasters every year.
“From African migrants choosing to cross by boat from North Africa to Europe to Pacific Islanders losing their homes due to rising sea levels and Central American migrants fleeing their home countries in search of refuge, people around the world are being driven from their homes by droughts, storms, and the political strife and conflict that follow these climate disasters,” 350.org stated in a December press release.
Fighting climate change is about more than emissions and metrics — it’s about fighting for a just world for everyone. Teen Vogue spoke with five climate-justice advocates whose work focuses on the vital intersection of migrant rights and climate action.
Maya Menezes, an organizer for No One Is Illegal and podcast host of Change Everything:
We are past the point of stopping some of the largest impacts of climate change. One of the biggest battles will be over the closing of borders, the decisions of who is deserving of basic humanity and who isn’t.
Under capitalism, goods can go across borders but human beings cannot. It’s not a weird coincidence, it’s a violent political strategy to bar people and privilege some over others. We need to envision a borderless world. Imagining a borderless world is one of the ultimate acts of decolonization because colonialism told us arbitrability there are lines here for you to cross, it is connected to capitalism, exploitation and racism, so challenging capitalism and colonization fundamentally challenges borders. If we are trying to challenge capitalistic structures that are destroying this planet, that means challenging the structures that are continuing to dehumanize human beings and designating people as legal bodies. No one is illegal on stolen lands. If we reject colonization and put ourselves in solidarity with indigenous sovereignty, then we reject that someone can be illegal and discarded.