Global climate justice week begins with climate displacement. It is anticipated that by 2050, there will be 143 million people displaced by climate change. An estimated 37% of the global population lives in coastal communities, which are at significant risk of natural disasters and sea level rise.
People are being displaced by extreme weather, sea level rise, and disasters that have destroyed their homes and/or their livelihoods, especially those tied to subsistence activities like fishing and farming. Coastal communities are being driven from their land by flooding. Farmers in rural areas are being forced from their land by drought and extreme heat. Displacement can push people further into poverty and many people who are unable to carry their wealth and maintain their social network in new situations struggle to regain stability.
People also migrate in search of work and safety, not just to escape disasters. Over 70% of migrants to Canada have no choice but to come on temporary permits, forced into low-waged work, often with high rates of abuse. Temporary migrant workers should be supported with permanent resident status.
Addressing climate displacement requires countries like Canada to reduce its emissions to prevent the impacts of climate change from escalating further. At the same time, we need to address the issues of poverty and inequality that affect communities experiencing the impacts of climate change most acutely, and to provide protection for migrants coming to this country.
Watch How Climate Change Impacts Human Displacement (2015) from the UN Refugee Agency.
Read the open letter from the Migrant Rights Network, signed by KAIROS, calling for full immigration status for all in Canada in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today’s action is to write a letter-to-the-editor (LTE). MPs and their aides monitor LTEs in local and national press to get a sense of what their constituents are concerned about, so they are a great tool for advocacy. Find an article about climate change in your local newspaper or national press and write a letter that expresses your opinion on the subject. If you can find an article related to migration, status for all, or climate displacement in reference to today’s theme, even better.
Here are some tips from KAIROS for writing effective LTEs.
Please also take a moment to sign the Status for All petition, calling for a single-tier immigration system, where everyone in Canada has the same rights. All migrants, refugees, students, workers and undocumented people in the country must be regularized and given full immigration status now, without exception. All migrants arriving in the future must do so with full and permanent immigration status.