Going Green and living more sustainably are becoming increasingly necessary as well as more attractive and satisfying. This “Green Page” will look at one sustainability topic each month, with ideas to consider and steps to use individually and as a congregation to care for and honor God’s amazing creation.
Climate Change and Migration
People are already moving because of problems due to changes in climate and weather patterns as a result of climate change. Numerous studies forecast a grim picture of displacement across and within national borders in the millions, as the adverse effects of climate change result in more extreme weather, rising sea levels, and threatened food security. Furthermore, it is the poorest and most vulnerable communities who contributed the least to global warming that are being hit hardest by this crisis. Many developing countries are particularly vulnerable since their livelihoods are dependent on natural resources. When those natural resources are affected by climate change, their ability to feed their families and make a living is significantly impacted. People in communities where previously hardly anyone would migrate have had to make challenging decisions. A majority of the 30.7 million people displaced in 2020 were fleeing extreme weather conditions, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Such a shift in population is likely to increase poverty and widen the gulf between the rich and the poor, since the ability to move will depend on individual resources. It will also accelerate urbanization of cities ill-equipped for the burden, challenging their capacity to provide basic services. The impacts of climate change are also worsening living conditions for those who have been displaced, because limited natural resources are also becoming scarcer in many parts of the world that host refugees.
These effects will also impact the United States. One study predicts that 1 in 12 Americans in the South will move toward California, the Mountain West, or the Northwest over the next 45 years because of climate influences.
Far from being a future concern, climate change-driven migration and displacement is already taking place. And these trends are likely to increase over the next decades. To address this problem, major industrialized countries may have to take in large numbers of people displaced by climate change, in proportion to how much they have contributed to the emissions causing global warming. Over the longer range, planning for environmental migration may also mean preparing for the desertion of geographically vulnerable areas, as well as for the influx of vulnerable communities into inland urban areas.
Mark your calendars for the April Earth Forum:
Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.
50 Years of Earth Day!
Theme: Recycling, More Sustainable Practices