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Migration and climate change: A new (under) class of travellers

December 18, 2009 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Bob Walker for this article from The Economist. Bob’s response to the article is below the link.
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The airstrip at Lokichoggio, in the scorched wastes of north Kenya, was once ground zero for food aid. During Sudan’s civil war, flights from here kept millions of people alive. The warehouses are quieter now, but NGOs keep a toehold, in case war restarts—and to deal with what pundits call the “permanent emergency” of “environmentally induced” migration.

Take the local Turkana people. Their numbers have surged in recent decades, and will double again before 2040. But as the area gets hotter and drier, it has less water, grazing and firewood. The drought cycle in northern Kenya has gone from once every eight years to every three years and may contract further. That means no recovery time for the Turkana and their livestock; the result is an increasingly frantic drift from one dry place to another.

For full article, visit:
http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13925906

RESPONSE:
June 26, 2009 18:10

Tragically, those who have contributed the least to climate change–and who are least able to adapt to climate change–may be among those who will suffer the most. While the great bulk of humanity is at risk, the poor and rapidly growing populations of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia will likely suffer the worst effects of drought and flooding.

Leaving aside concerns about environmental refugees, it’s imperative that we help vulnerable populations adapt to climate change, but it’s also important to increase voluntary family planning assistance in those countries where the level of unmet need for family planning is still very high. Some of the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia could easily double their population over the next 40 years. Some, like Niger and Uganda, could triple their population. Giving women who want to space or limit their pregnancies access to modern methods of birth control has to be part of the solution.

R.J. Walker
Population Institute


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