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The “unworthy” of Planet Earth: Climate Refugees by City Tech Blogger Limoni Kershnik

June 20 is accepted as World Refugee Day, it is a day that is devoted to the despondent of the world known as “the refugees”, with whom we share this world as a human race, but their problems are ignored and if not, in general, we only discuss them. Currently there are 65-70 million refugees, with this population refugees would form the 20th largest country in the world. The number clearly shows the colossal dimensions of this phenomenon. This amount is so severe, and painful that it is enough to reveal our negligence to “these people”. However, in most cases, the cold reality darkens the pains, tears, deaths, oppression, and persecution. Among this, it does not even come to our minds the experiences of every refugee, whether that infant, minor, woman, or an elder, are each a separate drama. When in fact every emigration, every partition is a rupture, a break, a ruin, or a whimper for perhaps thousands of years old inhabitants of those territories. Who is the one that sails to new ports of uncertainty and ambiguity, to leave behind the territories, the properties where they are rooted, the family and memories or hundreds of years of life experienced there? Every exile is the hardest and the last decision to take, it leaves behind everything from the past and all the hopes for the future in the geographic space where people lived until that moment. History knows of almost no society that did not fall into refugee status or not being forced to emigrate.

There are millions of people on the run all over the world: war and violence, political persecution, but also hunger and misery. For many years, the number of those who leave their homeland and their homes after the natural disasters has increased. Matthew Taylor in the Guardian article “Climate Change will create the world’s largest refugee crisis” says that climate change has played a part in the building up of the Syrian war, with successive droughts causing 1.5 million people to migrate to the country’s cities between 2006 and 2011. Many of these people did not have reliable access to food, water or jobs. While global greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow at their current magnitude, European countries for example will face a massive influx of refugees. Climate of global warming is one of the main causes of asylum migration. Europe receives about 351,000 asylum applications per year, and most of these files come from countries that are currently affected by global warming to a higher degree”. “If emissions of greenhouse gases remain high, as many as 143 million “internal migrants” may move within their own countries, accounting for as much as 3.5 percent of the total population of studied regions by 2050″ says Kevin Krajick in his article “Climate Migrants Will Soon Shift Populations of Many Countries, Says World Bank, “published by the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Achieving a solution to large immigration flows may require major efforts. But sometimes even small sacrifices may suffice for a solution. The immensely negligible cost of a water reservoir in a village in Africa can prevent the full emigration of that village. Such efforts may not solve the root problem, but at least reveal our intentions. Droughts, floods and tropical cyclones make more and more people unable to continue living in their hometowns. The impacts that climate change will have on the economy are difficult to determine, but they will be very different for certain regions and countries. In some areas there may be an increase in agricultural production, while in some other areas there will be a decline in this production. Negative impacts on the economy may include the millions of dollars it will need for all clearance operations in flooded areas or in areas affected by these extreme weather events, as well as millions of dollars of property that will be damaged as a result of sea ​​level rise.

In the future perspective, humanitarian aid around the world needs to change from classical disaster management to risk management. Of course, more money is needed, but at the same time structures and ways of thinking need to be changed. Yet the landmark for financing humanitarian aid is funded based on if there is a disaster or catastrophe and not the financing of future events. The donors of humanitarian aid do not fund any measure in this regard, because there is practically no catastrophe yet. Natural disasters and natural disasters associated with the weather can be better predicted. Climate researchers are now able to determine extreme weather developments with a high probability of up to six months in advance. This means that we have weeks and months available to reduce risk based on scientific data. But for Tuvalu, the small island-country in the Pacific Ocean it seems too late. Ten thousand people, the whole of Tuvalu’s population, are packing their stuff because their homes in the nine small coral islands in the Pacific, are slowly being swallowed by the ocean. Tuvalu’s disappearance raises questions that need to be considered quickly. What happens when many of these islands around the world are gone, displacing approximately a population of seven million people? Is there a reward for losing a country, its history, its culture, its way of life? How can we make a prize for this? Who will pay it?

For the United States and other developed countries, this is a matter of justice. Their talks are focusing on sharing responsibilities for this threat. Today, developed countries are arguing that in the coming decades, India and China will be the leading greenhouse gas emission-releasing sites, based on their development in recent years. The issue of climate change is not a problem of the future, it is an urgent matter of national security. Tuvalu’s residents need to build new lives in a new land. Australia and New Zealand have begun to accept environmental refugees in their territory, but they need to adapt to the new culture surrounding them. In 2014, Ioana Teitiota, from Kiribati, made headlines after he applied in New Zealand to become the world’s first climate change refugee on the basis of climate change in Kiribati caused by sea level rise associated with climate change. Climate change and sea level rise should force us all to accept our involvement in the destruction of cultures and take responsibility for securing people’s lives. We need to provide funds for those who are losing their homes today. It is time to understand that: “Climate change … is nothing but a form of slow death.”




  1. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/02/climate-change-will-create-worlds-biggest-rehttps
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/31/new-zealand-considers-creating-climate-change-refugee-visas
  3. https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2018/03/19/climate-refugees-will/


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