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Climate Change Refugees


One of the little known facts that has begun to make it in U.S. papers, is the growing international crisis of climate change refugees.  What is a climate change refugee?  They are not political refugees motivated to leave their homes because of war or religious persecution.  They are leaving their homes because the land they live on can no longer sustain them.

Where will they go?
Where will they go?

This crisis is most visible in Africa.  Particularly in countries surrounding Kenya.  Right now there are over 250,000 climate change refugees in Kenya, but there are currently 10 million of them in other parts of the world.  U.N. projections have climate change refugees growing to 25 million displaced persons by 2050.  A climate change refugee is one who is forced to leave their lands due to rising seas, drought, and lands that have been consumed by deserts.  The crisis in Kenya is the result of a 4 year old drought that has not abated from surrounding countries that border Kenya.  Refugees are seeking access to countries that have the resources to sustain them.  Kenya is not one of those countries.  They themselves are experiencing the pressure of new people demanding more of their limited resources.  Right now the U.N. is doing what it can to assist.  This situation has the capacity of becoming the next horrific chapter in human history.  Imagine a world in twenty years that no longer has glaciers to provide drinking water to whole continents.  Imagine countries whose very existence is obliterated by the rising ocean’s of the world.  Existing deserts that grow exponentially due to climate change.  Massive migrations of people from around the world looking for the basics of clean water and food.  Not 25 million people, but hundreds of millions.  Where will they go?  How will humanity survive in the long run?  Global climate change has reared its ugly head.  The writing is on the wall.  We need to do something about these refugees and global climate change now.  We can do something now, not later, when it’s too late.

John Vlahakis


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