An environmental migrant, also known as an environmental or climate refugee, is someone who has left his or her homes due to sudden or long-term changes in their environment that negatively affect their livelihoods. These changes include but are not limited to sea level rise, desertification, drought and interruptions of weather patterns such as monsoons. Environmental migrants can move from one country to another in another country or even within the country. One of the fundamental causes of environmental migration is the effects of climate change and the general degradation of the environment. The term environmental refugee was first used in 1976 by Lester Brown and since then there has been
Types of environmental migrants
According to the International Migration Organization, there are three types of environmental migration. First of all, there are environmental emergency migrants, who refer to people who temporarily flee their homes following an environmental disaster such as an earthquake, tsunami or hurricane. These are unexpected environmental events. The second type is environmental risk migrants, who refer to people fleeing due to the deterioration of environmental conditions such as deforestation or the deterioration of coastal areas. The third type is environmentally motivated migrants, also referred to as economic migrants induced by the environment. These are categories of people forced to leave to avoid possible inconvenience or future dangers.
Migrants in Asia and the Pacific
In 2010 and 2011, there were over 42 million people displaced in Asia and the Pacific. These figures were more than twice the population of Sri Lanka and included people who had been forced to flee due to rising sea levels, droughts, floods, storms, heatwaves and cold spells. The migrants who left eventually returned, but others became migrants in their country or across the border.
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Climate-related migration is an extremely complex concept that can be understood as part of global migration dynamics. Environmental factors are interconnected with social and economic factors, which in turn are influenced by environmental changes. Therefore, climate-induced migration must be addressed as part of a country’s development agenda, due to the significant repercussions of migration on social and economic development.