Humans have always been either nomadic peoples or settlers of a particular portion of geographical land. Because of severe climate change, political upheavals, civil unrest and injustice in the 21st century, humanity as a whole will tend toward migration in a way that should alarm all of us.
As we explore the theme Beyond Borders during this season of One Book, One Chicago and to help us as a community grapple with migrations and immigrations from our own personal narratives as well as understand the unique conditions precipitating the migrations and immigrations of others, here are five articles I recommend. You can read these articles using CPL's Online Resources.
"Refugees from the Earth" by Abrahm Lustgarten
New York Times Magazine, July 26, 2020
Many people, particularly from Southeast Asia and the Global South, have begun or will at least have their sights set on moving north in the decades to come. Studies have shown that while many, seemingly minute yet complex factors influence this migration northward, the underlying issue of climate change—and its devastating effects—is consistently the ultimate aggressor in situations across the board. What's more is that the confluence of ideas of a "better" life neglect to take into account serious pitfalls along the way.
"The Inventive Chef Who Kept His 700 Paintings Hidden" by Arthur Lubow
New York Times, April 17, 2020
The late Ficre Ghebreyesus was only known as the famous chef of Caffe Adulis (New York) until recently. His widow, Elizabeth Alexander, finally decided to share his hidden talent with the world. Like his masterful cooking, his artistic talent for painting was culturally diverse, made up of a hybrid of his vast and complicated history of migration and immigration. Explore the themes of Ghebreyesus' life and art in this article.
"For Newly Remote Workers, Small Town U.S.A. Will Lose Its Allure Soon Enough; Lower Taxes? Cheaper Housing? Shorter Commute? For some knowledge workers, fleeing the big city amid the pandemic, the perks of relocating to a distant burg will soon grow stale." by Laura Forman
Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2020
Migrations happen in sizes both small and large, and the smaller migrations are happening right now due to the pandemic. Employees are leaving big cities for smaller ones, but Forman asks: Will the charm of the small town dwindle over time, or will this kind of scaled-down migration be sustainable?
"California's Wildfires Show How Climate Change Is Making Forced Evacuations and Power Shut-Offs the Norm" by Christina Walker
CNN, September 9, 2020
The spike in the threatening nature of California's recent wildfires seems to be just cause for expecting upended migrations from the area to other parts of the United States.
"As Jobs Vanish, Immigrants Leave State: Out Migration Increased in the Early Months of the Pandemic, Experts Suggest" by Laurence Darmiento
Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2020
Immigrants, mostly due to COVID-19 and partly for more abstract reasons, have been moving out of places like Los Angeles (and California in general), although wealthier immigrants are able to remain. Darmiento outlines several possible reasons, including closed borders, self-eviction and job loss.