Adapting to Climate Change Through Migration

by Becky Strong

In 2006, Robert McLeman and Barry Smit from the Department of Geography at the University of Guelph wrote an article investigating migration as a possible adaptation to climate change, presenting conceptual models, and discussing the migration patterns of people from Eastern Oklahoma in the 1930s. Citing sociology, geography, and other social science sources. They examined theories of human migration behavior and analyzed concepts such as vulnerability, risk exposure, and adaptive capacity all theories developed within the climate change research community. While there is notable historical evidence linking human migration and climate change, it is not considered an automatic response and is influenced by many different factors. This notion can be traced back to Hippocrates and Aristotle who believed that humans determined the habitability of an area based on the characteristics of the natural environment and that they were shaped by these characteristics. Continue reading

Who’s To Blame for Climate Change?

by Breanna Sewell

Blame is one aspect of global climate change that is a bit of a touchy subject. In Peter Rudiak-Gould’s 2014 article, “Climate Change and Accusation: Global Warming and Local Blame in a Small Island State,” he addresses the two types of blame for climate change. Specifically, he looks at the potential causes and effects for the accusation that occurs regarding climate change in the small, Pacific Marshall Islands. Continue reading

The Morality, Ethics, and Values of Climate Change-Related Decision-Making

by Russell Salazar

What must a socially responsible organization do in the midst of a changing climate? Besio and Pronzini (2014) write that discourse on climate change has been transforming into a moral debate, and businesses and organizations must react. They take a closer look at the use of morality as a communicative tool, and analyze its relationship with the decision-making processes of organizations with regard to sustainability. Continue reading

How Climate Change Is Causing Global Conflict

by Patrick Quarberg

People in lesser developed countries are more likely to move out of climate change-affected areas and cause conflict, a study by Rafael Reuveny (2007) finds. Developing countries face serious threats due to climate change, such as severe scarcity in the food and water supply. These fundamental issues cause larger numbers of people to leave the country. Reuveny analyzes this from an economic perspective. That is, when the net benefit of staying in a place is overshadowed by the net cost, people—especially in developing countries—are inclined to leave that area or country. The displacement of many people leads to greater conflicts in a few ways. Increased competition for resources in the receiving country lead to increased tension and conflict. If displaced people are of a different ethnicity than the people of the receiving country, this effect is amplified. If the trend of migration continues for long enough, the host country’s citizens develop a tradition of distrust for anyone from that country, prolonging the struggle of the migrants and providing an opportunity for conflicts in the future. A final contributing agent to conflict is when migrants move on so-called “fault lines”, which can be any sort of large change in way life. For example, migrants who move to an urban area from a rural area experience greater tension and conflict due to the transition. Continue reading