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Environmental Change and (Im)Mobility in the South

Part of the Global Migration Issues book series (IOMS,volume 3)

Abstract

In the past 3 decades, environmental and climate change have been perceived by many as severe threats to developing countries that also destabilize development efforts. Among many other challenges, settlement in coastal areas is exposed particularly to the impacts of a changing global climate. Many fear that states like Kiribati, the Maldives, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu might first become inhabitable and then disappear for good.

The chapter looks into the relationship between environmental change and migration. It takes up major viewpoints and arguments and looks into potential environmental reasons that make people move. To get a better understanding of migration processes, the relationships between environmental change, livelihood security and migration are discussed. The chapter concentrates on challenges in the Pacific Islands region, where coping with, adapting to and recovering from environmental change and natural hazards are closely linked to people’s strategies to avert risk and create human security.

Human insecurity, risk, and social, economic and environmental stress can better be managed when people diversify their sources of livelihood. Migration is embedded in such strategies. Societies of the Pacific Islands have a long and rich history of migration; a history, however, that never saw people of this part of the world as refugees. They always have been migrants that contributed to the destination countries they moved to. The idea of becoming environmental or climate change refugees is rather unwelcoming to the people of the Pacific Islands. They perceive that refugees and asylum-seekers in their direct neighborhoods are treated like people without strong rights. To help Pacific Islanders to prepare for a potentially more risky future means to help them acquire the skills that make them welcome citizens of future destination countries.

Keywords

  • Climate Change
  • Natural Hazard
  • Solomon Island
  • Destination Country
  • Labor Mobility

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Fig. 6.1
Fig. 6.2

Notes

  1. 1.

    On the terminology and underlying paradigms and constructs, see Morrissey (2012); Saunders (2010), who in Fig. 10.1 provides an overview of key documents and in Fig. 10.5 the major issues/constructs.

  2. 2.

    For instance, relocation of the people of Banaba Island in Kiribati to Rabi Island in Fiji in 1945, relocation of people from various atolls of the Marshall Islands by the United States in preparation of nuclear testing starting in the late 1940s, and relocation of Gilbertese people to the Phoenix Islands in the 1940s and then the relocation of the same people to various parts of the Solomon Islands in the 1950s by the British.

  3. 3.

    For example, relocation of people from Vaitupu Atoll, Tuvalu, to Kioa in Fiji starting in 1947, relocation of Samoan villages after the tsunami of September 2009, and relocation of villages in Kadavu, Fiji Islands, after a tsunami in the 1950s.

  4. 4.

    An example is relocation of a few villages on Ghizo Island, Solomon Islands, after a tsunami in April 2007.

  5. 5.

    Inhabitants of Kiribati.

  6. 6.

    Fiji joined the scheme in 2003, and after the coup of 2006, Fiji’s participation in the scheme discontinued.

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Weber, E. (2014). Environmental Change and (Im)Mobility in the South. In: Anich, R., Crush, J., Melde, S., Oucho, J. (eds) A New Perspective on Human Mobility in the South. Global Migration Issues, vol 3. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9023-9_6

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