Research concerning human mobility in the context of environmental change is primarily focused on analyses of the nexus itself. We have taken a less-travelled route, focusing on those who take an interest in the issue, engage with it professionally or seek to address the multitude of social, economic and political dimensions associated with it. We used an online survey to examine perceptions of the human mobility/environmental change nexus amongst those who work with or within it (n = 262 respondents), situating our findings within the policy development they often seek or help to propel. We outline respondents’ overall characteristics, their conceptualisation of the human mobility/environmental change nexus and, finally, their policy preferences or priorities. We find, overall, that respondents are concerned with mobility approaches that promote equity as well as economic opportunity.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Adger, W. N., Arnell, N. W., Black, R., Decron, S., Geddes, A., & Thomas, D. S. G. (2015). Focus on environmental risks and migration: causes and consequences. Environ Res Lett, 10(6), 60201. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/10/6/060201.
Anderson, C. (2017). New Zealand considers creating climate change refugee visas. The Guardian (online). Available via: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/31/new-zealand-considers-creating-climate-change-refugee-visas.
Ayeb-Karlsson, S., Smith, C., & Kniveton, D. (2018). A discursive review of the textual use of ‘trapped’ in environmental migration studies: the conceptual birth and troubled teenage years of trapped populations. Ambio, 47(5), 557–573. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-017-1007-6.
Baldwin, A. (2014). Pluralising climate change and migration: an argument in favour of open futures. Geogr Compass, 8(8), 516–528. https://doi.org/10.1111/gec3.12145.
Bedford, R., Bedford, C., Wall, J., & Young, M. (2017). Managed temporary labour migration of Pacific islanders to Australia and New Zealand in the early twenty-first century. Aust Geogr, 48(1), 37–57.
Black, R., Adger, W. N., Arnell, N. W., Dercon, S., Geddes, A., & Thomas, D. (2011a). The effect of environmental change on human migration. Global Environmental Change, 21(Supplement 1), S3–S11.
Black, R., Bennett, S. R. G., Thomas, S. M., & Beddington, J. R. (2011b). Climate change: migration as adaptation. Nature, 478, 447–449. https://doi.org/10.1038/478477a.
Campbell, J., & Warrick, O. (2014). Climate change and migration issues in the Pacific. United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Fiji. Available via: https://www.unescap.org/resources/climate-change-and-migration-issues-pacific. Accessed 1 September 2018.
Daniell, K.A. (2014). The role of national culture in shaping public policy: a review of the literature. HC Coombs Policy Forum Discussion Paper, Canberra: Australian National University. Available via: https://coombs-forum.crawford.anu.edu.au/publication/hc-coombs-policy-forum/4543/role-national-culture-shaping-public-policy-review. Accessed 3 October 2016.
Davenport, C. & Robertson, C. (2016). Resettling the first American ‘climate refugees’. New York Times (online) Available via: https://wwwnytimescom/2016/05/03/us/resettling-the-first-american-climate-refugeeshtml?_r=0. Accessed 1 September 2017.
Dun, O., Klocker, N., & Head, L. (2018). Recognising knowledge transfers in ‘unskilled’ and ‘low-skilled’ international migration: insights from Pacific Island seasonal workers in rural Australia. Asia Pacific Viewpoint. https://doi.org/10.1111/apv.12198.
Elliott, L. (2010). Climate migration and climate migrants: what threat, whose security? In J. McAdam (Ed.), Climate change and displacement: Multidisciplinary perspectives (pp. 176–190). Oxford: Hart Publishing.
Evans, J. R., & Mathur, A. (2005). The value of online surveys. Internet Research, 15(2), 195–219. https://doi.org/10.1108/10662240510590360.
Farbotko, C. (2010). Wishful sinking: disappearing islands, climate refugees and cosmopolitan experimentation. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 51(1), 47–60. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8373.2010.001413.x.
Farbotko, C. (2018a). Voluntary immobility: indigenous voices in the Pacific. Forced Migration Review, 57, 81–83.
Farbotko, C. (2018b). Thinking space: climate change and national security: an agenda for geography. Australian Geographer, 49(2), 247–253.
Farbotko, C., Stratford, E., & Lazrus, H. (2015). Climate migrants and new identities? The geopolitics of embracing or rejecting mobility. Social & Cultural Geography, 7(4), 533–552. https://doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2015.1089589.
Farbotko, C., McMichael, C., Dun, O., Ransan-Cooper, H., McNamara, K. E., & Thornton, F. (2018). Transformative mobilities in the P acific: promoting adaptation and development in a changing climate. Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies.
Felli, R. (2013). Managing climate insecurity by ensuring continuous capital accumulation: ‘climate refugees’ and ‘climate migrants’. New Political Economy, 18(3), 337–363. https://doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2012.687716.
Foresight: Migration and Global Environmental Change. (2011). Final project report. London: The Government Office for Science.
Friedmann, V. (2016). Disaggregated planetary governance: implications for the nexus of climate change and international migration. Corvinus Journal of International Affairs, 1(1), 8–30.
Hugo, G. (1996). Environmental concerns and international migration. The International Migration Review, 30(1), 105–131.
Ionesco, D., Mokhnacheva, D., & Gemenne, F. (2016). Atlas des migrations environnementales. Paris: Les Presses de Sciences Po.
Jones, H. (2011). A guide to monitoring and evaluating policy influence. London: Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Background Note Available via: https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/6453.pdf.
Mayer, B. (2013). Environmental migration in the Asia-Pacific region: could we hang out sometime? Asian Journal of International Law, 3(1), 101–135. https://doi.org/10.1017/S204425131200029X.
Mayer, B. (2014). ‘Environmental migration’ as advocacy: is it going to work? Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 29(2), 27–41.
McGuirk, P. M., & O’Neill, R. (2010). Using questionnaires in qualitative human geography. In I. Hay (Ed.), Qualitative research methods in human geography (3rd ed., pp. 191–215). Ontario: Oxford University Press.
McNamara, K. (2007). Conceptualizing discourses on environmental refugees at the United Nations. Population and Environment, 29(1), 12–24. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11111-007-0058-1.
McNamara, K. E. (2015). Cross-border migration with dignity in Kiribati. Forced Migration Review, 49, 62.
Moriniere, L., & Hamza, M. (2012). Environment and mobility: a view from four discourses. Ambio, 41(8), 795–807. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-012-0333-y.
Nash, S. L. (2018a). From Cancun to Paris: an era of policy making on climate change and migration. Global Policy, 9(1), 53–63.
Nash, S. L. (2018b). Knowing human mobility: the self-perpetuating circle of research, policy, and knowledge production. Movements: Journal for Critical Migration and and Border Regime Studies, 4(1), 67–81.
National Legislative Bodies / National Authorities. (2017). Vanuatu: national policy on climate change and disaster-induced displacement. In Available via http://www.refworld.org/docid/5b44ce864.html.
Neilson, S. (2001). IDRC supported research and its influence on public policy - knowledge utilization and public policy processes: a literature review. Ottawa: IDRC Evaluation Unit, International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
Office of the President Republic of Kiribati n.d., Relocation. Available here: http://www.climate.gov.ki/category/action/relocation/. Accessed 1 September 2017.
Pfadenhauer, M. (2009). At eye level: the expert interview – a talk between expert and quasi-expert. In A. Bogner, B. Littig, & W. Menz (Eds.), Interviewing Experts (pp. 81–97). Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Piguet, E., Kaenzig, R., & Guelat, J. (2018). The uneven geography of research on ‘environmental migration’. Population and Environment, 39(4), 357–383.
Ransan-Cooper, H., Farbotko, C., McNamara, K. E., Thornton, F., & Chevalier, E. (2015). Being(s) framed: the means and ends of framing environmental migrants. Global Environmental Change, 35, 106–115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.07.013.
Stehr, N., & Grundmann, R. (2011). Experts: the knowledge and power of expertise. New York: Routledge.
Tacoli, C. (2009). Crisis or adaptation? Migration and climate change in a context of high mobility. Environment and Urbanization, 21(2), 513–525. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247809342182.
Thornton, F. (2018). Climate change and people on the move: international law and justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
UNFCCC (2015). Report of the Conference of the Parties on its twenty-first session, held in Paris from 30 November to 13 December 2015 Addendum Part two: Action taken by the Conference of the Parties at its twenty-first session Available via: http://unfcccint/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/10a01pdf. Accessed 1 September 2017.
UNGA (2018). Global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration: final draft available via: https://wwwunorg/pga/72/wp-content/uploads/sites/51/2018/07/migrationpdf. Accessed 11 September 2018.
UNISDR (2015). Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030. In: UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, 14–18 March 2015, Sendai, Japan, Geneva: United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. Available via: http://www.preventionweb.net/files/43291_sendaiframeworkfordrren.pdf. Accessed 1 September 2017.
US Department of Housing and Urban Development (2016). HUD awards $1 billion through National Disaster Resilience Competition. Available via: ehttp://portalhudgov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2016/HUDNo_16-006. Accessed 1 September 2017
Venturini, T., Gemenne, F., & Severo, M. (2013). Des migrants et des mots : Une analyse numérique des débats médiatiques sur les migrations et l’environnement. Cultures & Conflits, 88(4), 133–156.
Vlassopoulos, C. A. (2013). Defining environmental migration in the climate change era: problem, consequence or solution? In T. Faist & J. Schade (Eds.), Disentangling migration and climate change (pp. 145–163). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
Warner, K. (2012). Human migration and displacement in the context of adaptation to climate change: the Cancun Adaptation Framework and potential for future action. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 30(6), 1061–1077.
Warner, K. (2018). Coordinated approaches to large-scale movements of people: contributions of the Paris agreement and the global compacts for migration and on refugees. Population and Environment, 39(4), 1–18.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Thornton, F., McNamara, K.E., Farbotko, C. et al. Human mobility and environmental change: a survey of perceptions and policy direction. Popul Environ 40, 239–256 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11111-018-0309-3
- Environmental change
- Climate change
- Human mobility