Friday, October 20, 2006

Climate Change Refugees

The hurricanes that hit North America last year with such devastating consequences were said to result in the first climate change refugees by some. Those who did not leave before the storms hit, by choice or not, were then evacuated after the modern infrastructure broke down.

There has been a lot of debate on the influence of climate change on hurricane intensity and frequency. I suppose hurricanes and destroyed homes look good on the evening news... However, the climate change refugees have been around for some time just not always in such television suitable formats... and the Independent today runs an excellent story highlighting the issue.

It quotes from a report (Feeling the Heat) by the Christian aid agency Tearfund ( According to the report there are already some 25 million refugees and this could increase to several hundred million. Most of these in developing countries.

"Andy Atkins, advocacy director of Tearfund, said one of the most devastating impacts of climate change was on water supply. "In some parts of the world, floods, storms and poor rainfall are beginning to have catastrophic effects, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people," he said."

And the debate on immigration in the USA has so far not touched on this subject:

"Poor crop yields are forcing more and more Mexicans to risk death by illegally fleeing to the US."

This is a very valid point and somehow ignored by all politicians in North America. At least I have not read or heard anybody take up this point. The article goes on to state that better water management is key to mitigate the consequences of changes in climate.

There is an excellent book "When the Rivers Run dry" by Fred Pearce.(

The book is a very good account of the total stupidity with which natural wetlands are destroyed and important local and regional economies are devastated by mis-management of fresh water resources. It is one of the key reasons for Mexican immigration into the US.

We need to take action now. There is a growing number of Christian organizations moving to deal with the issue.
(more: This type of grassroots campaigning is utterly crucial to taking on our CO2 emissions. The solutions will come from ordinary people demanding change and taking control of changes they can make in their own lifes.

Independent story:


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