Climate Change Around the World

After researching the effects of climate change through the lens of foreign policy as well as examining the responsibility that certain countries play in the problem, I found how significant the current warming trend is because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years. Some astonishing information is, in 2011 far beyond all other countries the top carbon dioxide emitters were China, the United States, the European Union, India, the Russian Federation, Japan, and Canada. This information alone is disheartening, but that along with this statisitc makes it even more challenging to face. While most Americans believe in climate change, when asked if climate change was a “major threat” only 40% found this to be true while an even lower 38% of Chinese citizens found this statement accurate.

This is so astonishing to see the two most powerful economic countries in the world with these discouraging beliefs. The UN and others around the world have tried to gather together to fight the battle as a group, but each time most countries around the world value the economic benefits that come along from not worrying about the climate. As most countries see that if  value the environment too much that it would negatively affect that country’s economic status. An example of this was when the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was held in Kyoto, Japan in December of 1997 and is known as the Kyoto Protocol. Over 150 nations attended and adopted the first international treaty on controlling and reducing greenhouse gases. The The deal was fairly simple; industrialised countries would be legally obliged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions 5% from 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Developing countries – including China, India, Brazil and South Africa – would face no restriction on their emissions but were encouraged to adopt policies to promote greener growth. The United States, the primary producer of carbon emissions in the world at the time, never ratified the treaty, rendering it ineffective because the US accounted for a quarter of the total international carbon output. The US Senate voted 95-0 against the treaty, and Clinton’s successor George W Bush withdrew US support in 2002, labelling it “fatally flawed”.

This is so demoralizing to me that nations around the world have such little value for conserving the earth for future generations to have a chance. Although there have been not nearly enough positive steps made, there has been a treaty recently signed by the US and China called The Paris Agreement. While this small step made by the Americans and Chinese to come together surrounding this issue of climate change is positive, to combat climate change people need to first recognize global warming and the role that humans play in it.  

 

#2

Something that I found astonishing was how similar the current anti-Mexican immigration rhetoric and acts that the president of the United States has been involved in to that of the rejection that Chinese, Irish, and Italian immigrants, among others, faced in the past. Trump ran his campaign on and is currently executing these promises of closing borders to all refugees and his most notable plan of building a wall on the Mexican border of the United States. This attack on Mexican immigrants where Trump said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” These intense accusations made by President Trump are incredible derogatory and antagonizing. This along with creating the wall will not stop illegal immigration, but will only strengthen the growing divide between Mexico and the US.

This recent executive order that President Trump signed has created uproar in the US and around the world. It is a concrete example of how immigration is being limited purely based on ethnicity and religion. The “Muslim ban” is being questioned for both its morality and legality. This xenophobia can be directly compared to that of the Irish, Chinese, and Italian immigrants back in the 19th century. An interesting side note; in my opinion this executive action will do the exact opposite of what Trump intends it to. This ban will only further antagonize the Muslim world and create more recruiting material for ISIS and other terrorist groups. The xenophobia that is being expressed by the US will permanently harm the entire world’s view of America and only cause problems down the road in American diplomacy.

Immigration #1

Blog Post Immigration

So far in the immigration unit I have learned a great deal about actual immigrants and seen first hand accounts of people’s immigration stories. Prior to this I had focused mostly on mass scale immigration rather than looking into specific stories and personal accounts. Through the beginning of this unit we have seen the direct impact that immigration has on people both psychologically and physically. This can be seen in the film “I learn America” and in the readings in the Baltimore Sun entitled “Unsettled Journeys.” An example of the physical toll is seen with Exel who immigrated from Guatemala and when he reached the US he was forced to work to pay rent in his own home. This resulted in him having little time to do school work and no free time at all. Another example of this was with Brandon a student from the film who did poorly in school and was forced to work alongside his father at a restaurant. From these physical problems one can see the psychological toll that this takes on Exel.
One aspect all of the immigrants that we have learned about have in common is that they each face incredibly difficult obstacles. Prior to this unit I knew about the general struggle of immigration and one first hand account from my grandmother telling me about her immigration from Croatia when she was 18 years old. But these stories are different from modern immigration in which there are so many different restrictions and obstacles. My grandmother described how it was difficult in some ways to assimilate, but there were little to no obstacles that she faced in actually traveling to the US. Today it is so difficult to immigrate to the US, and people are forced to enter illegally.
I never have really thought about what it would be like to be in a completely foreign place and not be able to communicate with anyone because I do not understand the language. I do not think it would possible for me to experience something as extreme as the situation that Monique Ngombo was put into when she was supposed to ride a bus home at the end of the day. She could not read or write in any language, and could only speak her native language of Sango. She was put in a situation Which was that she got lost on the bus ride home from school. The situation was almost impossible to get out of due to the language barrier until luckily she was discovered by the Police. This is just one example of the difficulty that is faced being in a completely foreign land. This compares to my grandmother on a different scale as she faced many smaller challenges when she was first an immigrant.
As a privileged white male is is hard for me to relate with these incredible immigrant stories. I have never been put in these intensely difficult situations. It is so amazing that these people overcome all of these challenges in a completely foreign place. After reading the “Truth about Mexican Americans,” it is very disheartening to hear and think that the 45th president of the United States has said such volatile and harsh remarks about immigrants, focusing mostly on Mexican and Muslim immigrants. Although there will be some bad people in any group he has labeled all immigrants in a derogatory manner that in my opinion is very difficult to erase. Almost more frightening is the fact that so much of the US has similar opinions to Presidential Elect Donald Trump. The millions who voted for him had to have either supported or felt indifference towards his extreme ideas on immigration.