Guardian: The coming refugee crisis - When home leaves us

May 8, 2016

In an opinion piece, Vicki Arroyo discusses how the need to adapt to climate change is forcing some people in her home state of Louisiana to seek higher ground.

As seas rise, as floods and droughts become more extreme, as crops fail and as storms intensify, the world will increasingly face a new challenge – climate refugees.

In the United States, witness the recent plan by the federal government to resettle a Native American tribe before their Isle de Jean Charles home in Louisiana vanishes underwater – an example that hits close to home. I have deep family roots in south Louisiana: my mother, sister and brother-in-law, aunt and uncle were refugees from a weather disaster exacerbated by climate change, losing their homes in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. A year before, a heart condition killed my father in the aftermath of a stressful evacuation from Hurricane Ivan.

Some scientists already argue that the hundreds of thousands of Syrians fleeing their war-torn country are as much refugees from climate change as from conflict, because of years of climate-related drought. Others predict the world will see hundreds of millions more climate refugees by mid-century, at a staggering human, financial and political cost.

Read the article here.