RiaBlog

Environmental Migration: How Climate Change Drives Human Mobility

Environmental Migration: How Climate Change Drives Human Mobility

July 4, 2019 2 min read

When we think about climate change, we think about polar bears and melting icecaps. And while we should definitely address global warming, 22 million people are displaced every year on average due to deforestation, flooding or other natural phenomena resulting in environmental migration.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) defines environmental migrants as “persons or groups of persons who, predominantly for reasons of sudden or progressive changes in the environment that adversely affect their lives or living conditions, are obliged to leave their habitual homes, or choose to do so, either temporarily or permanently, and who move within their country or abroad.”

In 2018, a total of 17.2 million people in 144 countries became environmental migrants with most of the displacements taking place in the Philippines, China and India.

Let’s take a closer look.

Leading up to environmental migration

Hurricanes and earthquakes aside, minor changes in a region’s topography or ecosystem can threaten the livelihood of those who live off of the land.

In Senegal, for instance, many are displaced due to fertile lands being absorbed by the Sahara Desert. The deforestation is currently being fought with agroforestry, but many have had to abandon their villages in the meantime.

Currently, the IOM has tracked over 28.5 million displaced people around the world finding Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia to be the most displacement-prone regions, as shown below.

(via IOM)

Well-managed migration

It is estimated that by 2050, 143 million people would have migrated due to changes in the environment. Thus, there is no denying that many communities worldwide will continue to face environmental migration.

That being said, relocation could be a sustainable solution if managed adequately.

Organizations such as the Platform on Disaster Displacement work to ensure the best practices proposed in the Nansen Initiative Protection Agenda are implemented wherever possible. The agenda prioritizes three areas: data collection for knowledge accumulation, enhancing the use of humanitarian protection measures and improving the management of disaster displacement risk in any given country.

Aiding those affected by environmental migration will depend on both our ability to create spaces for those without a home and our commitment to rebuilding and restoring those areas affected by natural disasters or climate change.

At Ria, we open new ways for a better everyday life to the migrant population around the world. If you need to send money, we’ve got you covered. Download the Ria Money Transfer app for iOS or Android to get started.

About the author

Alaine Anderson

Related posts

Empowering Hope: How Haiti’s Remittances Can Transform Lives
Migration
Remittances

Empowering Hope: How Haiti’s Remittances Can Transform Lives

Remittances play a vital role for poverty-struck communities, especially when it comes to countries like Haiti. The Caribbean nation depends on remittances sent from abroad, particularly from the United States where the Haitian diaspora is considered the 15th largest foreign-born population. Today, three-fifths of Haitians live on less than $2 a day. Following a long […]

June 19, 2024

A Case for Affordable Remittances 2024: Supporting Families and Communities from afar
Migration
Remittances

A Case for Affordable Remittances 2024: Supporting Families and Communities from afar

Every year, millions of people decide to leave their native countries, crossing international borders in search of a better everyday life. Sometimes, people immigrate to earn a college degree or to learn a language. Other times, to gain international experience in their field. But, more often than not, people move to lift themselves and their […]

June 13, 2024

How to Reintegrate After Living Abroad
Migration

How to Reintegrate After Living Abroad

While many people are excited to return home after spending a long time living abroad, the reintegration process is not always smooth. Of course, it’s normal to experience a bittersweet feeling as you pack your things and touch down in your home country, but for some people, this can lead to an extended period of […]

May 28, 2024

Best Places to Live in Puerto Rico: Five Top Expat Havens 
Migration

Best Places to Live in Puerto Rico: Five Top Expat Havens 

With its vibrant culture, stunning beaches, rich history, and convenient ties to the United States, Puerto Rico has become an increasingly popular destination for expatriates seeking a blend of Caribbean lifestyle and American comforts.  As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico provides expatriates with the benefits of American infrastructure, healthcare standards, and legal status. It offers […]

May 14, 2024