Updated: Dec 1
Have you ever wondered how climate change is reshaping the world not just through melting ice caps, but through the movement of millions of people?
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) predicted that 2023 will be the hottest year on record, with temperatures rising by about 1.4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. As evidenced by the fact that the world will face the peak of the heat wave phenomenon globally in 2023. Areas near Russia, Central America, Central Europe, China, and Australia are among the most vulnerable, according to the journal Nature Communications. Not because the region will be the hottest, but because they are not accustomed to prolonged periods of heat.
Displacement caused by climate change is not a new phenomenon, but its scale and impact have grown significantly in recent years. Climate change is no longer a distant threat; it is a current and widespread crisis with far-reaching consequences. Climate change, among these consequences, has a significant impact on human mobilization or mass migration.
The impact of climate change, on the other hand, will affect extreme weather events such as hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires, destroying agricultural systems, displacing communities, and destroying infrastructure. The 2017 Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the ongoing drought-driven migrations from Central America to The United States are stark examples of this phenomenon.
The role of climate change also affected many developing countries due to the fact that lots of farmers who rely on predictable weather had to be pushed into loss, disadvantages, even poverty due to unpredictable rainfall. This issue could even lead them to move to the urban areas for some economic opportunities and often ended up in overcrowded slums.
Furthermore, between 2002 and 2021, Antarctica lost an average of 152 billion tonnes of ice per year due to climate change. Melting ice also raises sea levels, causes more extreme weather, and changes ocean currents, which may lead to salinization of rivers and lakes, making freshwater scarce on the islands.
Not only that, but the rising sea level over time may gradually decrease an island, implying that the growing population will not have enough space to live. This could also lead to mass migration if rising sea levels gradually reduce an island's width. According to Active Sustainability Media, five islands, including Kiribati, Maldives, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, and Solomon Islands, are at high risk of sinking due to rising sea levels. Every year, those counties lose 1.2 centimeters of land due to rising sea levels caused by climate change.
And more of the list of islands that could sink will be growing if all of the people don't take their chance to reduce climate change from the simple things such as, using public transportation for mobilization, energy saving, and also reducing rubbish waste.
Beyer, Robert; Milan, Andrea. 2023. Climate Change and Human Mobility: Quantitative evidence on global historical trends and future projections.