I’ve been writing a lot about the millions of people who will be forced to move from their homes because of any one of a number of the effects of climate change. That includes fires, floods, destruction from high winds, and melting permafrost. Other reasons will be to escape areas of disease as organisms are released from melted water and soil. Huge areas of drought, rising sea levels and unbearable high air temperatures will be the leading causes of forced migration.
Food insecurity will be caused by drought, high temperatures and coastal areas swamped with salt water. Water insecurity will result from high air temperatures holding more water vapor, draining of aquifers, and changes in precipitation patterns.
I’ve been using the term climate refugee, but a related term is climate migrant. The main difference is refugees are forced to leave their homes, whereas migrants choose to leave.
“The distinction is an important one, because an international convention in 1951 outlined certain rights for people deemed refugees, whereas migrants have no such rights. Refugees are protected from being deported or returned to situations that might threaten their lives. They are to be given access to social services and to be integrated into their new country’s society. Migrants are subjected to a country’s immigration laws and procedures and can be turned away or deported back to their homeland.” Encyclopaedia Britannica
This is an added dimension to the whole question of borders and immigration policies.
The following video discusses climate migrants. In 2017, 18 million people were displaced by flood, storms, and drought worldwide. Over the next 30 years it is estimated that over 200 million people will be displaced for the same reasons, although that number might be significantly higher.
As the video says, we need to make plans for these vast migrations of people. I created the Facebook group, Overground Railroad, as a place for people to discuss these ideas.
My vision for a way to respond to the needs of those who will be migrating inland, as the coastal cities are flooded, is outlined here: https://jeffkisling.com/2018/02/22/design-and-build-beloved-community-models/