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Climate Change Migration and Climate Refugees

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

In a world of rising sea levels and melting glaciers, climate change is most likely occurring but with uncertain overall effects. Tsunami, earthquakes, wildfires, cyclones, dust storms, flash floods what more to ask for a havoc! Recently sparked Brazilian fire, shrinking amazon forests, melting of arctic glaciers are creating a mass amount of migration among the natives. What these outcomes mean for different populations, however, is far less certain. Climate change is both a narrative and material phenomenon. People can adapt to these problems by staying in place and doing nothing, staying in place and mitigating the problems, or leaving the affected areas. The choice between these options will depend on the extent of problems and mitigation capabilities. However people living in lesser developed countries may be more likely to leave affected areas, which may cause conflict in receiving areas. To shed some light on the statistics of climate suffered refugees in 2018, the World Bank estimated that three regions (Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia) will generate 143 million more climate migrants by 2050. In 2017, 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced, more than at any point in mankind history. While it is difficult to estimate, approximately one-third of these (22.5 million to 24 million people) were forced to move by “sudden onset” weather events- flooding, forest fires after droughts and intensified storms. While the remaining two-thirds of displacements are the results of other humanitarian crisis, it is becoming obvious that climate change is contributing to so-called slow onset events such as desertification, sea level rise, ocean acidification, air pollution, rain pattern shifts and loss of biodiversity.

In so being, understanding climate change requires broad conceptualizations that incorporate multiple voices and recognize the agency of vulnerable populations. Counting adversities is easy. One can map, display and scare community with horrible effects this change is inducing. The future scenario needs an urgent call for action. Being a literate pupil of this society, the duty falls on the shoulders of legit community to devise strategies. Now that the situation around the world has aggravated this much, think of what to do next! Multilateral institutions, development agencies and international law must do far more too thoroughly examine the challenges of climate change. Frameworks, conventions and all protocols should show their faces in reality rather than embracing the face of a paper. Plastic reduction policies, tree plantation schemes, vertically sustained green houses and buildings, carpooling, utilization of public transport, switching to green technologies and use of renewable energy sources. As a result of migration the current system of international law is not equipped to climate migrants, as there are no legally binding agreements obliging countries to support climate migrants. While climate migrants who flee unbearable conditions resemble refugees, the legal protections afforded to refugees do not extend to them. The UNHCR as thus far refused to grant these people refugee status, instead designating them as “environmental migrants”, in large part because it lacks the resources to address their needs. It is to understand the climate change is real and people affected by it in any form deserve to be taken in and cared for because this suffering is no less than any legit crisis that happens around the globe. Let’s join hands to extend our help and save this planet!

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