Ahhh the weekend.  Perfect time for some light reading–like this New York Times piece “Refugees Join List of Climate Change Issues”

Here’s a choice quote:

There could be 200 million of these climate refugees by 2050, according to a new policy paper by the International Organization for Migration, depending on the degree of climate disturbances. Aside from the South Pacific, low-lying areas likely to be battered first include Bangladesh and nations in the Indian Ocean, where the leader of the Maldives has begun seeking a safe haven for his 300,000 people. Landlocked areas may also be affected; some experts call the Darfur region of Sudan, where nomads battle villagers in a war over shrinking natural resources, the first significant conflict linked to climate change.

200 million climate refugees.  The scale of that sort of crisis is enough to throw global geo-politics into a semi-permanent chaos. 

Luckily, our partners at Islands First have been deployed an innovative strategy to mobilize the world to action. While we at 350.org focus our efforts primarily on the UN body charged with dealing with climate change (the UNFCCC) and the upcoming Copenhagen conference in December, some of our partners target the UN from a different angle by encouraging the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution that demonstrating threat that climate change poses to international peace and security.  

The hard-fought resolution, brought by 12 Pacific island states, says that climate change warrants greater attention from the United Nations as a possible source of upheaval worldwide and calls for more intense efforts to combat it. While all Pacific island states are expected to lose land, some made up entirely of atolls, like Tuvalu and Kiribati, face possible extinction.

For the first time in history, you could actually lose countries off the face of the globe,” said Stuart Beck, the permanent representative for Palau at the United Nations. “It is a security threat to them and their populations, which will have to be relocated, which is the security threat to the places where they go, among other consequences.”

Indeed, on my recent trip to Australia and New Zealand the implications of climate refugees–and the new phenomenon of “climigration“–really hit home.  A refugee crisis of any kind is a lose-lose, and a haven (like New Zealand) has just as much at stake as a sinking island (like Palau).

This sort of situation is precisely why I’m so thrilled to see our October 24th Day of Action take off in New Zealand and island nations around the world.  If everyone stands to lose in a climate-ravaged world, then everyone has a role to play in the movement to get our planet–and ourselves–out of this mess.

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