Is the world ready for mass migration due to climate change? – BBC
Open borders do not have to mean no borders or the abolition of nation states, though. It may be necessary to explore different types of nation states, with different governance options. Will states that are most affected by climate change buy or rent territory in safer places? Or will we see charter cities that operate under different jurisdictions and rules to the territory surrounding them, or floating states that build new territory on the waves?
It will take work to reinvent the concept of the nation state so it becomes more inclusive so that it strengthens local connections while forging greater and more equitable global networks. There are multiple benefits in encouraging commonality, a kinship with our fellows, based on our shared societal project, language and cultural works. These traits matter to people enough to make patriotism a powerful source of identity.
So why not also engender patriotic feeling about our nations’ air, land and water, to encourage people to look after them.? One approach, since we all face environmental threats, might be to enlist military and other security institutions in the struggle against climate change. National service for younger citizens and immigrants to help with disaster relief, nature restoration, agricultural and social efforts could be another solidarity-creating step. And we may need to restore or invent new national traditions that are environmentally or socially beneficial, and for which citizens can feel pride and respect. These could include social groups and clubs that sing, create, play sport or perform together, and to which members can belong for life. These traditions can help maintain dignity in hard times and provide patriotic meaning for immigrants to assimilate to.
The new patriotic narrative could be about civic nationalism, based on the common good, with rights and duties, and a passionate cultural attachment to nature, and to protecting and conserving places of national (or international) importance.
Costa Rica, for instance, embraced the term pura vida, broadly meaning “good life”, as a national ethos, mantra and identity. Its use became widespread from the 1970s, when refugees from the violent conflicts in neighbouring Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador relocated to the country in large numbers. Costa Rica, a small Central American country that has no standing army and instead invests heavily in nature protection and restoration alongside social services such as health and education, used this outlook on life to help define its character and integrate new immigrants.
“A person choosing to use this phrase thus is not only alluding to this shared ideology and identity, he/she is at the same time constructing that identity by means of expressing it,” says Anna Marie Trester of New York University. “Language is a very important tool of self-construction.”