The relationship between the oceans and migration is gaining visibility, especially when we refer to the trafficking that takes place via ships and illegal journeys in search of livelihoods and a better life. However, there is much more to be said for migration and the oceans, especially for rural communities in migrant-receiving countries that depend on the oceans. Indeed, in Europe, sea fishing is also a sector of activity for migrants, which constitutes a significant source of income for the host country. It is therefore important, even crucial, to clear up the misunderstandings about the prejudices linked to migration and maritime areas and to better understand the dimensions of the contribution of migrants in the struggle for the responsible safeguarding of maritime resources and the sustainable use of marine ecosystems resources.
Migration is potentially an engine of growth and development for all parties involved, whether they are host countries, countries of origin or the migrants themselves. In destination countries, migrants can help renew the workforce, thus contributing to economic viability by participating in various community activities. Referring to Germany, immigrants are increasingly young, which could provide a dynamic workforce strong enough to carry out both profit and social activities, such as shoreline cleanup. According to a study conducted by the federal statistical office, in 2019 Germany had more than 83 million inhabitants. The average age of the population was 44.5 years. Given this average age of the population, young people will not be able to replace their parents’ generation from a purely mathematical point of view. However, this is a deficit that migration could help to overcome thanks to young immigrants who can quickly enter the labor market. This will help alleviate the labor shortage and contribute to the country’s prosperity and economic success. In addition, many migrants bring valuable skills in the field of environment and nature protection, which are often not visible or recognized as academic knowledge.
Furthermore, global warming is a reality that the younger generations will be confronted with in a very brutal way in the coming decades. And it is from today that young people will have to mobilize massively to preserve the planet. It is with this in mind that even in their host countries, young migrants are taking action on a daily basis to contribute to the fight against climate change. This is illustrated by the commitment of Amina Tall, a Burkinabe living in Germany, who campaigns for the protection of the environment. Aware of the urgency of safeguarding the environment, she has been involved in this subject for years, even as a student, she encouraged people in her neighborhood/village to plant fruit trees for the preservation of nature and for climate protection. Her commitment continues today and she organizes clean-up sessions for the beaches of Germany. These sessions are a way for migrants to get together and carry out a community activity that impacts the environment; it also facilitates the integration of migrants in their host country and provides a space for networking with locals. Amina Tall is currently an “Ambassador in Humanity in the Moringa project to protect nature against climate change”.
Like her, there are many other migrant associations that carry out activities beyond the borders of their countries of origin for an effective fight against maritime pollution. So we need to look at migration policies and practices with an innovative eye, to see how migration can provide solutions and opportunities to the problems of climate change and environmental degradation.