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Environmental Refugees

  • By: Carol Farbotko
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Environmental refugee is a term that has gained currency in civil society and the media to describe people who undergo forced migration linked to environmental change. Although migration linked to deteriorating environmental conditions is not a new phenomenon, the concept of environmental refugees has emerged since the 1970s in parallel with environmental crises, particularly desertification in Africa and climate change impacts in the wider developing world. It is frequently used to describe and highlight how populations that have been displaced or are at risk of displacement associated with environmental change fall outside the ambit of protection provided to those legally designated as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The term has been debated and critiqued in academic inquiry rather than accepted as ...

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