Change for Whom?
by inaarahaydari on April 2, 2018 - 11:47pm
Change for Whom?
The article “Climate change soon to cause movement of 140m people, World Bank warns” by Fiona Harvey deals with environmental migration. The article extrapolates results from a study done in three geographical regions that represented 55% of the population of developing countries. According to the results, until 2050, there could be around 150 million people migrating, either internally or internationally, because of climate change. More specifically, the Harvey points to droughts, heat waves, crop failure, floods and the rise of sea level as direct causes of those mass movements. The author explains that those mass influxes of population could cause hotspots, which are defined as an overcrowding of an already crowded area. Those, in turn, could have many consequences. On the international level, the author explains that the consequence have already been experienced, as migration causes cross-border conflicts. On a national level, which concerns internal migration, it could put a restriction to social and economic development by affecting jobs, resource scarcity and housing/infrastructure. It could be a threat to the governance of certain authorities. However, the author still believes that the consequences can be diminished if action is taken now. Some of the remedies deal with climate change, which act as prevention measures, while some deal with the migrations’ consequences itself, which act as adaptation measures. According to the Harvey, a prevention measure is that there should be more effort to reduce greenhouse gases emissions. Some adaptation measures would be for national governments to put environmental migration into their development planning so that resources are available when necessary. Also, if the national planning accords more importance to infrastructure and education, Harvey believes that internal migration could be not only controlled, but prevented and reduced by tens of millions if the right national measures are planned.
In this article, a lot of emphasis is put on the role of national governments and its planning, but I think it misses the importance of the international community. Global citizens have not only the power, but also the responsibility to bring awareness and to raise funds. It is not a duty out of humanity, but also because climate change is a consequence of human actions. The poor are the most vulnerable to climate change and to migration, yet most of the greenhouse gases emissions are due to developed countries. This disproportionate vulnerability should be brought to light by the international community and acted upon. Environmental classism is a very important issue that is not mentioned so often, and that yet defines the lives of millions of people. Also, unlike what most people think, climate change is not a direct cause, but rather a multiplier, an additional stress to already existing problems.