We need to shout about the positive side of immigration

The Guardian 3 weeks ago

When did immigration become a dirty word? Was it when Donald Trump started talking about his wall? Or when Nigel Farage put that nasty poster up in 2016?

Earlier? The Arab Spring? The Afghan wars? When the EU expanded into eastern Europe?

Even earlier still? Enoch Powell? Windrush? The hostility towards Jews, Huguenots and people of colour through the ages?

Of course, immigration has been an emotive subject for as long as people have moved from one community to the next. Britain’s election will be no different, as was made palpably clear this week.

Part of the reason is that people are mostly unaware of the benefits that newcomers bring. Politicians do not see many votes in praising the new skills, manpower, job creation, competitive edge and cultural diversity that immigration promises. And there are few newspaper articles that dwell on all the ways that immigration enriches us.

The Upside has done regular work on this over the past 18 months , and this week was no different, as we covered the amazing story of the teenager who ran from poverty and despair in west Africa – and now wants to run for Spain. And this in a week in which one of the world’s most famous, inspiring refugees was finally given his freedom – after six years in detention.

We are always searching for stories about the inspiring deeds of immigrants. Get in touch with us at theupside@theguardian.com if you come across any.

Otherwise, this week was a week for:

Making ersatz meat from thin air. Two-minute snack.

Lower speed limits in the Netherlands. Slightly longer ride –and if you are at all geeky do check out this map of speed limits all around Europe.

The countries where gay marriage laws has resulted in lower suicide rates. 90 second read.

Lucky numbers

Armies are getting smaller. That has to be a good thing.

What we liked

This piece in the Conversation about a zero-emission research station in Antarctica. The subhead could have been “Emissions: if we can cut them there, we’ll cut them anywhere.”

And while we’re on the subject of sustainability, we were mildly encouraged by this from the Sydney Morning Herald: the world’s most sustainable retail mall.

Finally, this New Yorker piece about how to have a great idea.

What we heard

All the very best to you, Behrouz.
You are symbolic of several dimensions that are wrong with our society
The oppression of people is one and as a Kurd you have experienced that all your life.
On top of that we live in an age where journalists are regularly vilified for doing their jobs. These are dangerous times for speaking truth to power and you have done an amazing job, with the help of the Guardian …
Most of all, however, for me you symbolise hope. You have shown how to stare down adversity, a lesson we all need to learn in these often dark times.

Andrew Fynn wrote in with some profound thoughts.

Fifty years ago Allan Savory realised that the cause of the massive global problems of desertification … was not what it might have seemed to be. He also saw that just knowing the range of potential tools-as-solutions would not solve the actual root cause. Instead he came to the conclusion that we all have an onboard genetically hardwired framework we use to make all decisions. And we don’t know we are using it. While useful for the kind of simple goals that we share with other animals – it is not fit for purpose for managing complex natural ecosystems or complex man-made systems.

Savory developed holistic management, teaching that teaches, that this framework is relevant for everything we manage. If my hunch is correct, Allan has stumbled across something with profound potential to improve human management of systems, ecosystems, resources, people, companies, and organisations. What I am hearing is that when you shift to managing via a properly developed holistic context, conflict and unintended consequences disappear.

Where was the Upside?

In a chlorine-free public swimming pool, somewhere near you.

Chlorine-free in Ramlingen Photograph: Dpa Picture Alliance/Alamy Stock Photo

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