The Need for Asylum

With so much media attention and social discussion of the issues at the USA border and the flow of asylum-seekers in Europe, we should be wondering what causes the need to seek asylum in so many places?


The obvious simple answer is: too many people with too little livable habitat for humans. How come?


Historically, religious groups have encouraged, sometimes demanded, more reproduction without recognition of the need for food and environmental support. Recognition that increased births resulted in increased starvation and malnutrition in many regions should have made this advice immoral.


Business leaders who depend on consumerism for their profits also have marginalized many and made them try to move to a better place for consumption, whether needed or not. Because consumerism is a driver in some cultures, such as the USA, government policy and manipulation often provides substantial support for increased consumption even by those who can’t afford it economically. And the globe can’t afford it either.


Currently, and historically, political ambitions have fueled conflicts that reduced the capacity of many regions to support human populations. With a supply of weaponry from developed nations, minor conflicts are able to reduce the carrying capacity for humans at rates that cannot be overcome except by leaving the area. Commonly, this destruction has no direct effect on the powerful nations who foster the conflict for political gain. Consider the history of conflicts in Middle America and the flow of asylum-seekers several decades later. The only direct effect on the nations that have instigated the conflicts is the inconvenience of the incoming flows of asylum-seekers.


In response we string razor wire, build walls and complain, without acknowledging the fundamental causes of the need to seek asylum. The most basic step clearly is the need to match the number of humans to the environments available to support them.


The Global Footprint Network calculated that to supply only food, wood, fibre and ability to absorb carbon dioxide in 2017 we needed the support of 1.71 worlds. Others calculate that if a wider range of resources is included, we need between 2 and 3 worlds to supply the amount of human environmental support that the global human population currently uses. We are surviving by using up our global capacity to support ourselves. Yes, we are using up the farm and the factory. We eat up the capital instead of living off the interest.


The number of humans multiplied by the amount of resources consumed by each one of us sets the rate at which we are using up the world’s ability to produce what we need. The need for asylum is just the first sign of the problem.

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