COVER IMAGE: Todd Miller’s cover of Storming the Border, 2017.
Last Wednesday Todd Miller spoke at Stony Brook’s own Wang building on his latest book describing the confluence of climate change, immigration and national security entitled Storming the Wall.
At the beginning of his presentation, he made a benign joke on how the weather here on Long Island is more pleasant currently than his home in Arizona. Miller then launched into his book which seems to be a mixture of anecdotes he gained from the research he did for the book, contextualized in with hard data he gained similarly. His story starts out in the Philippines where Miller visits his grandmother’s home island where he sees the small signs of the changing planet such as a home that now is directly at the sea level and had to be abandoned.
The meat of his descriptions, however, are in Latin America with his visit down to Southern Mexico near the border with Guatemala where, with our help and under US pressure, the Mexican government is trying to turn back many of the refugees from nearby Honduras from fleeing North. Hondorus is currently suffering from a devastating drought which has forced the government to distribute food to some 400,000 people. This on top of a coup the nation suffered in 2009 that brought a large amount of political instability and Honduras matches the Christian Parenti model of “Catastrophic Convergence”. Wherein a nation suffers from a series of overlapping economic, political and ecological crises. There he interviewed two Honduran refugees who commented on how they felt they had to leave for their lives.
Next, Todd Miller went on with an enlargement of scale. He brings up several worldwide developments including the fact that New Zealand is poised to become the first nation to have a climate refugee status. This is mostly in response to the growing number of people being displaced in the Pacific Islands. Many nations around the world, Miller notes, have not taken such an enlightened view as evidenced by the global growth over the past three decades from 15 international borders being walled off to the current total of 70. Over those same 25 years, the US Border Control budget has bloated to 13 times its original size.The Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland security have already listed climate change as a threat in stark contrast to the rhetoric coming out of the White House. The US has already built walls along sections of the Mexican border in response to this. This has
The presentation closed with a hopeful message in describing the moves being made by placing gavions in streams and rivers in Northern Mexico to help the soil absorb the water. This stirring contrast between the walls built to divide borders and those made to heal the earth.