October 27, 2011

Migration as adaptation

For all of human history, people have migrated in response to environmental changes. Institutional xenophobia, which may have roots in behaviors that could be useful in prehistoric times, currently obstructs migration. Sadly, in a time when standard travel is cheaper and safer than ever, hundreds of people perish each year trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea in makeshift boats.

Migration is an obvious response to poverty and climate deterioration. Thus, it is good news to see a commentary published in Nature calling for more open borders to ease adaptation to climate change. And it is not authored but some ideologically-driven liberal zealot - as some would probably label me - but by seriously politically-correct members of the UK government, including John R. Beddington. Perhaps times are changing for the good.


  1. I've said this before, I know, but I really resent the fact that somebody's whose salary I pay (indirectly, and only a small part, I admit) publishes work that I cannot read.

  2. I was tempted to comment on the general nonsense and ridiculous English of the piece, but a good political idea is such a rare find in science journals that I preferred to highlight it and forget about the rest. It is that sad.

  3. I, too, was glad to see the commentary published in a scientific journal. As obvious as migration is a natural response to habitat and environmental change in non-human species, human migration will have to overcome centuries of stigmata associated with nomadic, semi-nomadic and even migrant people. Political and societal negativity to human migration is global where predominantly sedentary cultures have rooted us to one place (and time, it seems). This article was encouraging.

    I don't understand the objections ("general nonsense", etc) raised to the article. Publishing (especially in high-impact factor journals) is unfortunately to some extent a 'game' all scientists have to play and endure to a large degree, and this is a rather sensitive topic at many levels. And the content covered the complexity quite well to impress upon readers the reasonable and rational importance of the topic.

  4. Macrobe, I am able to play the game, but I have never had to in order to publish in a scientific journal. In fact, most editors ask authors to write clearly and precisely.