Campus lecture to highlight climate refugees

Climate refugees are individuals who are forced to migrate from their homes due to environmental disasters.

These environmental disasters, also known as natural disasters, are a result from both incremental and fast ecological shifts that cause sea levels to rise, extreme droughts and other occurrences of extreme weather.

Disputably, these environmental changes have increased in the past few years, causing a surge of mass global migration.

These climate migrants are in danger of becoming stateless, and many travel across borders without legal documentation to find means of survival.

This surge of migration has increased border conflicts. Under Article 1A of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951, a refugee is defined as a person who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”.

Despite recent various conventions to include legal protection to persons who have fled their nations due to environmental change, no long-term legal protections exist or have been adapted. According to The UN Refugee Agency this is an estimated amount of one person every second. Since 2008, 22.5 million people have been displaced by climate or other weather-related catastrophes.

At 7 p.m. on Thursday Feb. 28 in Wallenberg Auditorium, Dr. María Cristina García will present “Climate Refugees: An Unrecognized Challenge at Home and Abroad”.

As a 2016 Andrew Carnegie Fellow at Cornell University, Garcia studies refugees, immigrants, and exiles. During the lecture, García will discuss how climate change has affected the worldwide refugee population.

Her lecture as showcased by the Office of Marketing and Communication at Gustavus Adolphus College will “expand on the growing issue of climate change, both within the United States and internationally, as well as the challenges that lie ahead for the people who will be displaced by such changes, and the countries that will be forced to give them refuge”.

The event is free and open to the public.

Full story to follow next week.