Forced displacement for environmental reasons is not a recent phenomenon. Historically, people have often had to move from their land because of degradation of resources and/or conflict over scarce resources. Migration, and population movement in general, is part of human history and an important adaptive mechanism.
What is more recent is the potential for mass movements caused by chronic factors such as desertification and widespread resource depletion and by acute events such as floods, droughts, hurricanes and tsunamis. As awareness grows of the role and speed of climate change and as the physical effects of climate change (both acute and chronic) are felt around the world, there has been a proliferation of warnings of spiralling rates of displacement.
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