Who are Climate Refugees?

1,401 Views Updated: 09 Sep 2017
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Who are Climate Refugees?

Every individual move to a new place in hope for a better living condition, a better lifestyle, or some entirely different reason. Some just wander to places just to explore the world before settling down; some do it in hope for a better future. Whereas, there are people who are forced to do so by people, or to save themselves from the wrath of the mother nature.  

Now, the two words “migrants” and “refugees” seem similar in meaning, yet there’s a simple difference between the two. As I said above, people who migrate from one city/country to another in search of work, better living standards, or with aspirations for a better life are doing it willingly, and thus they are migrants, not refugees.  

But, when you say the word “refugees,” it refers to the people who have been forced to move to another city or country. At the time of war, violence, or persecution; people are forced to flee their country leaving everything behind them to a new country. The general example can be the Jews who fled to Germany to save themselves from Adolf Hitler.

Who Are Climate Refugees/Climate Migrants?  

There can be a lot many reasons for people fleeing their country other than war, violence, and persecution. One of them is a drastic change in the local environment, or the climate making it people living in the particular area difficult to survive. The migration is primarily done to ensure their chances of survival from the long-term changes caused by the alteration in local climate. Aforementioned is what is termed as Climate refugees or environmental refugees. Sometimes, environmental refugees are referred as climate migrants.

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(Image Courtesy: Howstuffworks)

Examples Of Environmental Change Refugees 

To be more evident, here are some examples of environmental refugees/climate migrants/climate refugees.

#1.  In the year 2004, Florida was rocked by four major hurricanes in one month, which is one of the biggest cases of environmental refuge. The state suffered a lot of damage, 20% of houses were in ruins. As a result, many people left the place forever due to the concerns of living in a vulnerable area.

#2. Another example of environmental refugees are the inhabitants of 200 residents from Alaskan villagers, who are being forced to migrate to other areas due to the lands which are steadily shrinking as the permafrost continues to melt.

#3. A historical example of environmental refugees or climate refugees can be the massive floods of Missouri and Mississippi river in the year 1993 and 1927. The floods not only destroyed a lot many homes but also forced a huge portion of locals to flee their local towns.

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(Image Courtesy: World Policy Institute)

Cases Of First Climate Refugees

The world's first climate refugee, Ioane Teitiota, bid a claim to achieve climate change refugee status, was sent back to Kiribati after his claim was dismissed. Ioane belonged to Kiribati, an island nation, and was staying in New Zealand as climate change refugees before being sent to custody for overstaying his permit.

In the second case of successful climate change refugees, a family from Polynesian Island of Tuvalu was granted the world's first climate change refugee residency. Their claim stated that the rising tides in Polynesian Island were causing salt water encroachment, polluting the drinking water.  

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(Image Courtesy: Twitter)

There’s a lot more that can be added to the list, yet we hope you like our efforts. And, if you have any related cases that you want to share, let us know using the comment section.

(Featured Image Courtesy: Citi Fm)

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