Environmentally Induced Population Movements: Their Complex Sources and Consequences. A Critical Review
This chapter deals with population movements which are induced by environmental forces – the latter are broadly defined. The passing of the bipolar world gave rise to increasing concern by the international community for non-military sources of instability – environmental degradation, rapid population growth, growing un- and underemployment and poverty, ethnic tensions, human rights violations, transnational terrorism and large-scale international migration. The fear of mass migration of environmental refugees – people driven from their homes as a result of ecological destruction – has become a major issue in the international community. The mutual dependence of the peoples of the world on a single common planetary biosphere means that the environmental decline of one country or region is a problem for the entire community of nations (Swain, 1939). The New World Order encourages an international solution to other existing global problems hitherto swept under the carpet. The reckless abuse of the human environment is one of such problems (Ezeonu and Ezeonu, 2000: 41-48). Though major research attention has been attributed to the South-North migration and East/West migration, most of the movements have been from rural areas to urban areas inside the developing countries or from one developing country to another (Swain, 1993).
The first part of the chapter reviews all the definitions of such migrants and the difficulties which accompany attempts to isolate this type of migration. The second section of the chapter deals with the basics of migration and circulation as these comprise the foundation of “environmental migration”. The third part explores the relationship between environmental degradation, population growth and migration. The fourth section discusses the concepts of resilience and vulnerability in their relationship to environmentally-induced movements. The fifth part presents and discusses a few types of environmental “push” forces such as natural hazards, disasters, and development projects. The sixth and last section deals with the environment-migration-security nexus. The final section presents the policy implications of the former discussed sections.
KeywordsPopulation Growth Environmental Degradation International Migration Asylum Seeker World Country
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