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Sustainability is valid & should be up for discussion

Zafar Bhat. Dated: 9/13/2018 12:56:20 PM

Zafar Bhat
Jammu, Sep 12
Ironically if immigration continues at the current level, it will increase J&K's population to a size that the State's environment cannot sustain.
However, sustainability is valid and should be up for discussion. It has been the subject of a number of studies, which have attempted to assess the effect of different rates of immigration on a range of variables: food and water supplies, other resources, cities, the natural environment, and so on. These are important questions. At present though, discussion of immigration's likely effect on J&K's environment is drowned out in the far louder, more rancorous argument about the fate of asylum seekers. Immigration has become an either-or issue.
Whereas the same effect, the same silencing of common sense and abandonment of centrist positions, can be seen too in the wider debate about conservation, climate change and the environment. Conservation one might think would be a natural concern of those who call themselves conservatives.
Notably, preservation of the environment should, in theory, depend to a great extent on the action of the mainstream of the population – that is, the middle class. It is not that poor people don't care about environmental issues; rather, that income pressures will often hinder them from political action – like environmental activism – which has objectives outside their immediate economic advancement. It is the middle class who more often than not have the income, the education, and the resources to take up the cause of the environment. The attitudes of that middle class also more often than not lie towards the centre of the political spectrum, not at the extremes.
Pertinently, in this country, however, the debate about the environment, and specifically climate change, has retreated to those extremes. That leaves a very large group of voters, moderate and centrist in outlook, who are deeply concerned about the environment and climate change, who don't want to be labelled racists if they express legitimate concerns about immigration, who believe environmental policies should aim to save capitalism from itself, not destroy it, and who are not represented adequately by either major party. Our system and our politics are failing them.


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