I have some MAJOR issues

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Member since February 19, 2017
  • 13 Posts
  • Age 17

Do you enjoy your life right now? Your warm showers... Your house... Your car... Your morning Starbucks... As the more developed and industrialized countries continue to create carbon emissions, the world experiences severe climate change which results in extreme temperatures in certain areas and rising sea levels in others. This causes some areas of the world to experience more natural disasters than ever seen before. And all of this, my friends, contributes to climate migration: the forced migration of people due to environmental disasters.

And I, being a human living on this earth, have some MAJOR issues with this...

1) Several news articles have been published on the topic about climate migration, yet only a few readers choose to speak up.

2) Some people in certain countries fear the new influx of migrants will take up jobs within their country.

3) Governments often tighten their borders even more as refugees enter their countries.

4) People simply do not know how to deal with climate migration because they do not have enough knowledge about climate migration to begin with.

I live in the United States and despite being a student in an academically competitive district, I have never heard of climate migration being brought up in school...like ever.After looking deeper into this subject by watching a few TEDxTalks and a truly awakening call written and presented by Voices of Youth Blogger, Joanna Sustento, I realized just how much human rights tie into climate migration. People in less developed nations are the least responsible for climate change, yet they are the most affected by it. These refugees of climate change have to leave their homes, their families (sometimes permanently), and everything they know to find new opportunities to thrive.

Alessandro Grassani(documentary photographer), from a TEDTalk in Berlin, has traveled with several environmental migrants over the course of several years. In his TED Talk, he spoke about a Mongolian family he had traveled with in 2011. He described the winter that year as being negative fifty degrees celsius where the goats the family herded for a living had decreased by half in three years- decreasing from about 2000 goats to 1000. Every night the family would bring several weaker goats inside their tent. If the goats stayed out in the cold, they would’ve surely died. According to Grassani, thousands of these herders on the Mongolian Steppes were forced to relocate to the cities to find a new way to sustain their family. Another story of a climate refugee found in Mongolia is of Narantuya Enebish. This woman was a former shepherd who had moved to the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, to find refuge. However, she is forced to collect cardboard paper at the garbage dumps to make a living there. Given her husband’s spinal injury from a previous job in the city, she is on her own to provide an income for their family. These refugees have no other possessions except for their tents. They are forced out of their normal lifestyle to suffer a new life that is foreign and unreliable. Another tale Alessandro Grassani brings is one from the south of Bangladesh. There, living near the railroad tracks of the city Dhaka in a small shack, was mother Golape and her two young fatherless children. They are refugees due to a flood, costing them their house, a family member, and everything they knew. They had no idea where to go and what to eat because Golape’s husband used to provide their income.

Now let’s take a step back and examine the three stories that lay before us. Putting goats in tents in close proximity to people may cause a rise in disease as seen before in history -the black death. With women outside of their original protected homes, they now are exposed to a new vulnerability- people that may exploit them as these women are desperate to receive money for items necessary for survival. A lack of food, due to the higher goat mortality rate (in Mongolia) or the flooding of farm fields and destruction of fishing ports by sea waters (as seen in Bangladesh), forces people who work in the primary sector to move to the city. This strains the city’s resources (that are already decreased due to lack of primary sector workers) and can contribute to famine. Water contamination can occur as sea water destroys irrigation and plumbing systems. Children without a home, such as Golape’s, may never receive an education, which can eventually take away the successful life that they could’ve had. These refugees are suffering due to the changing climate, yet no one has legally recognized that they too, should receive aid.

Joanna Sustento, is a survivor of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines who lost her parents and several other family members to the typhoon. She states that the worst thing is that our children, our future, could be scarred mentally by climate change. There are many children affected by climate change that believe they have no one to help them, that they have no hope. Some have shut down and stopped dreaming due to fear. And if children don’t dream, if they have no hope, do we have a future? Referring to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, how will we be able to reach self actualization (the basis of human rights) if we don’t have food or water, if we don’t have safety and security, if we don’t have feelings of belonging and love? The answer is simple, we won’t. Thus, climate refugees need to be legally recognized and we must formulate a plan to aid these people. This is our world. Climate change is our problem. And only we, can find the solution.

Works cited:

Robert Mcleman “Beyond Environmental Refuge” TEDxTalks.

Stephan Jermendy “No Place Like Home” TEDxTalks.

Alessandro Grassani “The Last Illusion.” TEDxTalks.

Joanna Sustento “A Wake Up Call: One Typhoon Survivor’s Story”

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