Is Climate Change Forcing Short Distance Migration?

Climate change Source: Pixabay For most people, moving to a different part of the country is a decision based on work or lifestyle. Moving jobs, moving closer to family and having a better lifestyle are just some of the reasons why people relocate to a different city. When there is a mass movement of people from one part of a country to another, it is usually due to conflict or economic reasons. According to a new report, climate change will soon become one of the biggest reasons why people relocate out of their home city. It is estimated that by 2050, around 140 million people will be forced to leave their native city, town or place of residence due to the effects of global warming. While some world leaders and politicians deny the realistic consequences of global warming, we are already seeing problems, such as rising sea levels, crop failure, storm surges and water scarcity becoming an issue in major cities across the globe.

Potential Problem Areas

According to a recent report, the effect of climate change will have the most influence in South Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. To put it into perspective, these three regions account for a whopping 55% of the global population. If climate change forces internal migration, it could mean that millions of people will have to move house, move jobs and take up residence in cities and towns that are already overcrowded. Although those who move can reduce the stress on local resources by growing their own food, streaming movies at home rather than going to the cinema, or playing at an online casino instead of visiting a land based establishment, the consequences are far reaching. The report warns that if human activity continues to affect climate change, the result could be a global refugee crisis the likes of which we have not yet seen. Governments in affected areas will need to plan for entire communities and city populations that will have to move because of problems caused by climate. This could lead to increased tensions and internal conflict as increased pressure is placed on dwindling resources. This is not something that might happen in 50 or 100 years. If things continue as they are, we could see migration happening within the next 5 to 10 years. The effects of climate change may seem small at first, but will have much larger reaching consequences. Changes in rainfall patterns can cause water shortages and crop failure, which in turn leads to job losses, negative economic growth and a slow movement out of the area. Climate change forcing relocation Source: Pixabay

The Harsh Realities of Climate Change

Storm surges may not force people to move immediately, but they can cause millions in damage, putting pressure on the local economy, affecting the housing market and eventually lead to a slow migration out of the area. Rising sea levels may be one of the more distant problems but we are already seeing spring tide surges that flood roads, building and damage infrastructure. At the moment, the researchers have identified key areas in countries where people may be forced to move from in the next few years. In Ethiopia, people in the Capital city of Addis Abba may be forced to move due to water scarcity, while those in the highlands are already suffering from crop loss. It is most likely that these people will have to move to smaller cities in the east of the country. In Bangladesh, people living in Dhaka and in the northeast of the country are already affected by flooding and heat stress, and will soon have to move to a more stable part of the country. And in Mexico, people living in the low-lying areas on the southern coast will continue to suffer from extensive flooding. People living in the arid northern regions will also be facing their own problems with water shortages forcing both groups to migrate to the central plateau where most of the Urban population is situated. Looking at this, it seems that climate change may well soon be responsible for one of the biggest population migrations yet, and that this will happen in our lifetime.


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