Read the selection and then answer the questions
From “Chapter 9: Human mobility and adaptation to environmental change” by Robert Oakes, Soumyadeep Banerjee and Koko Warner in World Migration Report 2020
Millions of men, women and children around the world move in anticipation or as a response to environmental stress every year. Disruptions such as cyclones, floods and wildfires destroy homes and assets, and contribute to the displacement of people. Slow-onset processes – such as sea-level rise changes in rainfall patterns and droughts – contribute to pressures on livelihoods, and access to food and water, that can contribute to decisions to move away in search of more tenable living conditions. Advances in meteorological and other sciences which inform about the dynamics and pace of climate change indicate that disruptions ranging from extreme weather events to large scale changes in ecosystems are occurring at a pace and intensity unlike any other known period of time on Earth. Anthropogenic climate change is expected to increasingly affect migration and other forms of people moving to manage these changing risks. The mechanisms through which environmental impacts contribute to migration are complex. Over the last decade, it has become accepted that links between the environment and migration are rarely linear. Some literature frames the issue as a normal and neutral social process and other articles refer to the “migrancy problematic”. Economic, political, cultural and demographic factors interact with environmental drivers to shape intentions of people to move or stay in a given location. These interactions can contribute to building pressure – sometimes referred to as tipping points – after which remaining in situ becomes less attractive than leaving. Whether and when these intentions are manifested into actions is partially dependent on the material ability to move, with some immobile populations labelled as “trapped”. Immobility is not necessarily related to material conditions, and also relates to psychological and cultural limitations and preferences. Numerous terms have been used to describe people who move as a result of environmental and climate change. This chapter uses terms such as “human mobility” in the context of climate change, which refers to a broad spectrum of people movement. It covers migration, displacement and planned relocation, as well as “environmental migrants”, including in relation to extreme events and other environmental stressors. Historically, migration has been a way of life in many islands around the world, and these processes are accelerating under the influence of a changing climate. Coastal and island communities face increasing exposure to the impacts of tropical storms and sea-level rise. In addition, many coastal regions and islands are adversely impacted by a shortage of freshwater sources, compounded by changes in rainfall patterns and salinization caused by flooding. The prospect of disappearing land, islands and freshwater poses serious challenges and a range of human mobility patterns are emerging in this context, including a range of solutions to protect the well-being of those moving.
Historically, migration has been a way of life in many islands around the world, and these processes are accelerating under the influence of a changing climate. Coastal and island communities face increasing exposure to the impacts of tropical storms and sea-level rise. In addition, many coastal regions and islands are adversely impacted by a shortage of freshwater sources, compounded by changes in rainfall patterns and salinization caused by flooding. The prospect of disappearing land, islands and freshwater poses serious challenges and a range of human mobility patterns are emerging in this context, including a range of solutions to protect the well-being of those moving. Coastal Regions Deltaic regions provide fertile land and access to water for irrigation, fisheries and trade. Climate change has put them at risk of sea-level rise and flooding as they are located at meeting points of rivers and coasts. Relocation of some coastal and island communities has begun. One study projects that over 400 towns, villages and cities in the United States, including a large number of coastal indigenous communities, will need to relocate by the end of the century as a result of environmental change. Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana will be the first community to receive federal funds and support for relocation. Residents have worked with local non-governmental organizations to plan a new sustainable community and settlement using modern technology and innovative use of wetlands and parklands to protect against flooding while maintaining fishing livelihoods. A significant challenge will be to incorporate the history, traditions and culture of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe. The full involvement of affected communities in decision-making on matters including access to resources, where the new settlement will be sited and when and how the project develops plays an important role in community relocation.
What terms do the authors of the chapter decide to use to describe migration as a result of environmental issues?
Why might it be difficult to determine if someone is an environmental migrant? Explain your answer.
Is everyone able to migrate? Discuss how environmental factors could create immobility. Provide an example.
Why are coastal regions, such as the Mississippi Delta region of the United States, sites of potential environmental mobility?
- The selection above mentions the planned relocation of a community in Louisiana in the United States. What strategies need to be implemented during a planned relocation?