CONNECTING THE DOTS: CLIMATE CHANGE & DISPLACEMENT

Climate change impacts make us more vulnerable to displacement.  Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico last year.  It's estimated that about 14% of the population will have left Puerto Rico by 2019.  Florida faces the same threat every year.  Others who have also experienced devastating hurricanes include: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas.  Climate change impacts all of us.  

United we stand to protect each other.

Around the World

  • Scarce natural resources such as drinking water are likely to become even more limited. Many crops and livestock are unlikely to survive in certain locations if conditions become too hot and dry, or too cold and wet. Food security, already a concern, will become even more challenging. 
  • People try to adapt to this situation, but for many this will mean a conscious move to another place to survive.  
  • Between 50 million and 200 million people, mainly subsistence farmers and fishermen, could be displaced by 2050 because of climate change, according to estimates by the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security and the International Organization for Migration. 
  • 8 islands in southeast Asia have either reduced in size dramatically or disappeared. The islands of Kepidau en Pehleng, Nahlap, Laiap, Nahtik, and Ros have all been submerged in recent years. 

The United States

  • Puerto Rico- Hurricane Maria destroyed the island, leaving it with out power, food or water.  It's impossible to know exactly how many Puerto Ricans have left, but it's estimated that about 14% of the population will have left Puerto Rico by 2019.   More than 1,400 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria 
  • Houston- Hurricane Harvey affected over 13 million people.
  • New Jersey- Hurricane Sandy displaced over 40,000 people.
  • New Orleans- Hurricane Katrina  displaced more than a million people. 

Florida

  • 22 of the top 25 cities identified by FEMA, as having socially vulnerable communities, are located in Florida.
  • 20 of the top 25 cities most vulnerable to coastal flooding are in Florida.
  • Florida is a peninsula made of limestone, which is porous.  Florida is more extremely vulnerable to sea level rise because the water is not just rising from the sides of our coasts, but from underneath us.
  • Due to this porous limestone, Florida is also experiencing salt water intrusion, which is affecting our drinking water and agriculture.

Tangier Island

  • Tangier Island, located in Virgina is losing roughly 15 feet of coastline per year. It is now only 1.3 square miles and is shrinking more and more every day because of sea level rise.  The residents here will soon be displaced. 

America's First Climate Refugees

  •  Isle de Jean Charles, located in  Louisiana, is the disappearing because of sea level rise.  
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development has given a $48 million grant to Isle de Jean Charles.  It is the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change. 
  • The divisions the effort has exposed and the logistical and moral dilemmas it has presented point up in microcosm the massive problems the world could face in the coming decades as it confronts a new category of displaced people who have become known as climate refugees.