Relationship Between Climate Change, Migration And Human Health

1653 Words 7 Pages
This paper explores the complicated and complex relationship between climate change, migration and human health. Climate change will have a number of direct impacts that can destabilize an area through exposing vulnerabilities and reducing securities. This may cause people to migrate out of an area. This migration will have negative health implications in terms of urbanization, the spread of disease, resource shortages and a lack of adequate resources. The Western Pacific region is a particularly vulnerable area to climate change and migration; therefore, this problem is analyzed using this region as a lens.

Climate Change and its Impacts on Migration and Human Health
Climate change is a well-established and supported phenomenon
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The IPCC states that sea level rise in the Pacific is on track with the predicted rise of .18 to .59 meters by 2090, severely threatening the land security of atolls that barely lie above sea level (“Human Health”, 2015). If the physical land no longer exists, populations will be forced to move. Livelihood security will also be threatened by the rising level and acidification of the seas. Populations in the Pacific are extremely dependent on fisheries and local agriculture for food. Rising sea levels will overtake fresh water sources and lead to a salinization of the water sources and soil – reducing the productivity of agriculture. A significant number of the islands get their fresh water from underground fresh water tables. These tables exist because the less dense fresh water sits above the more dense salty water in the porous coral that makes up the island. When seawaters rise, they can easily breach the fresh water table, making that water become salty, and seriously reducing the availability of fresh water on the islands (Locke, 2009). Agriculture is already being impacted, as there have been reports of some people growing crops in tins because the soil is already too salty to sustain adequate growth (Locke, 2009). This lack of fresh water is detrimental to the livelihood security on the islands, both in …show more content…
As McMichael et al. (2012) states, “Slow onset environmental changes can be a proximate factor in long-term movement away from a place of origin” (p. 647). There are three types of long-term movement that may occur due to climate change in the Pacific region: forced displacement, planned resettlement and migration. Forced displacement occurs when a group of people has no choice; their land security is threated and they no longer have a physical habitat, and are therefore forced to leave. This displacement will normally occur over short distances within countries, due to the sudden and pressing nature of it (McMichael et al., 2012). Planned resettlement may occur in countries in which people are aware that they will lose their land security, and in order to adapt they plan resettlement in advance to reduce exposure to impacts. This will be large groups of people, usually whole communities, who choose to resettle in either another country or another area of their home country (McMichael et al., 2012). Migration is more broad, and will occur when people “for compelling reasons of sudden or progressive changes in the environment that adversely affect their lives or living conditions, are forced to leave habitual homes, or choose to do so, either temporarily or permanently, and who move

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