Today, the impacts of our changing climate are being felt worldwide – devastating floods in Europe and Arizona, deadly temperatures in Nicaragua and Nepal, and wildfires all over the planet. But, according to the UNHCR, it is mainly countries that already struggle with conflict, poverty and a high level of displacements that need to deal with the most severe effects. Droughts, flooding, and other extreme weather events are hitting countries that are the least equipped to recover and adapt, often depriving people of daily food and other basic needs, forcing them to migrate.
Over the past decade, weather-related events triggered an average of 21.5 million new displacements annually, twice as many as displacements caused by conflict and violence. Worldwide, 80% of the displaced people live in areas that are affected by malnutrition and acute food insecurity, which is often a direct outcome of climate-related disasters. When crop yield decreases and water becomes scarcer, prices increase, making food unaffordable for impoverished or displaced communities, often triggering social tension and violence.
Today, roughly 13% of the world population live in countries that are highly exposed to climate-related hazards with a limited capacity to recover when disasters occur – especially after being hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. IEP estimates that at least 1.2 billion people will be displaced due to climate-related events by 2050.
According to Our World in Data, the first world countries (15% of the world’s population) are responsible for 60% of the greenhouse gas emissions. They are therefore contributing the most to climate change. They should take their responsibility and act right now to not only stop but reverse the effects of climate change. It is also essential that third world countries are provided with the help needed for adaptation to the changes to come, ultimately preventing mass migration. Currently, there is an urgent need for an international mechanism to protect climate refugees. History has taught us that mass migration goes hand in hand with conflict. We cannot confine 1 billion people in camps waiting for the climate to change back to what it was.
The quote is from the poem “Home”, written by @warsanshiree . The poem is written from the perspective of someone escaping violence, and losing their home. The poem hit us hard and inspired us to write this post. We highly recommend listening to the spoken version of the poem down below.