Climate change displacement has begun

And so the evacuation has begun. Just a few weeks ago the first five families from the Carteret Islands, a small coral atoll far off the coast from Papua New Guinea with a population of around 2600 people, abandon their homes. This is the first evacuation of an entire people due to man-made climate change.

"As the Ecologist's blogger Dan Box witnessed, the first five families have moved to Bougainville to prepare the ground for full evacuation. There are compounding factors – the removal of mangrove forests and some local volcanic activity – but the main problem appears to be rising sea levels. The highest point of the islands is 170cm above the sea. Over the past few years they have been repeatedly inundated by spring tides, wiping out the islanders' vegetable and fruit gardens, destroying their subsistence and making their lives impossible."

It is worth noting that these families are not the first climate refugees in the world. People have abandoned their homes due to natural climate changes before. One example of that can be the abandoned olive presses from the Roman Empire which can be found in North Africa - where once trees and olives flourished there is now just deserts.

These five families might not sound as much, but they are just the first of billions of future climate refugees. The European Union has been told to prepare itself for millions of climate change refugees. And Nicholas Stern, the British economist and academic who is probably most known for the Stern Review, has warned that climate change will create billions of refugees and extended world wars.


Report Article

Article Details

Simon Leufstedt
  • Published:

Share This Story

Follow Green Blog

Subscribe to our RSS feed and stay updated with out latest posts and articles. You can also subscribe to our newsletter and get weekly updates. Follow us on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

User Feedback


Hello and thank you for this article. So-called environmentally induced migration is multi-level problem. According to Essam El-Hinnawi definition form 1985 environmental refugees as those people who have been forced to leave their traditional habitat, temporarily or permanently, because of a marked environmental disruption (natural or triggered by people) that jeopardised their existence and/or seriously affected the quality of their life. The fundamental distinction between `environmental migrants` and `environmental refugees` is a standpoint of contemporsry studies in EDPs. According to Bogumil Terminski it seems reasonable to distinguish the general category of environmental migrants from the more specific (subordinate to it) category of environmentally displaced people. According to Norman Myers environmental refugees are “people who can no longer gain a secure livelihood in their homelands because of drought, soil erosion, desertification, deforestation and other environmental problems, together with associated problems of population pressures and profound povertyâ€.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now