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Where will you be able to live in 20 years? - Carol Farbotko and Ingrid Boas


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Humanity has always adapted to changing weather and moved to regions that best support cultural lifestyles and livelihoods. However, the rise in extreme weather is endangering coastal communities, and even for those with the resources to take action, the pace and nature of climate change has made it difficult to adapt. Carol Farbotko and Ingrid Boas dig into the challenges of climate mobility.

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The media often reports on “waves” and “rising tides” of people forced to move by climate change, highlighting predictions made by some researchers about millions and sometimes even billions of “climate refugees”. But such headlines aren’t always accurate, nor do they necessarily accurately capture the perspectives of those affected. There is a role for scientists, journalists and other public commentators to listen more closely to what those affected are saying and achieve more accurate reporting on climate change mobilities.

Going beyond the headlines can help us think more deeply about climate adaptation and mobilities in climate-impacted places such as Bangladesh, Tuvalu and Kiribati. 

In Bangladesh, climate mobility is very much shaped by policies and politics. One example comes from the work of Kasia Paprocki who has shown how mobility from rural areas to cities in Bangladesh may actually be a consequence of climate adaptation projects – said to be improving Bangladesh’ economy and climate resilience – but in practice displacing people from their homes. She refers to World Bank supported shrimp aquaculture projects that have replaced most of the farmlands in Khulna (Southwest Bangladesh) as a means to adapt the sea-level rise threatened region to a more fitting economic landscape. This has, however, led to much saltwater intrusion and to a loss of local jobs, resulting in urban migration. This migration has subsequently been framed as an “adaptive” climate migration strategy, but it may actually be maladaptive for the vulnerable population who lived there Read this article to find out more. [MOU1] 

Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati, has a population that is rapidly growing due to migration from the outer islands, placing pressures on natural resources, infrastructure and essential services. A proposed project will reclaim 300 hectares of swampy inhabitable land and transform it into an urban development resilient to predicted 2200 ocean levels. Watch this video to find out more.

In the Tuvaluan culture, Tuvaluan people are able to relocate to places where they have family ties and access to customary land. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuvaluan people have moved from the capital to safer rural areas, drawing on these long-standing customary practices. Such urban-rural mobility is useful for understanding how customary forms of mobility can advance adaptation to climate change impacts among Tuvaluan people. Read more about Tuvalu and pandemic mobility here.

When thinking of climate mobility, we also need to consider different forms and types to get the full picture. Think for instance of fishers in West Africa, that for centuries have moved around the West African coast, following the movements of fish. Fishers and fishing communities are affected by climate change, but also by problems of overfishing and the competition from big trawlers, all impacting on the migratory practices of the fish and the fishers. Read this article to found out more.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Carol Farbotko, Ingrid Boas
  • Director Ouros Animation, Rikke Planeta, Philip Piaget
  • Narrator Alexandra Panzer
  • Storyboard Artist Rikke Planeta
  • Animator Multara Al-Ameri, Martin S. Neukirch
  • Compositor Philip Piaget
  • Art Director Federico Pirovano, Rikke Planeta
  • Composer Stephen LaRosa
  • Sound Designer Stephen LaRosa
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott, The Animation Workshop
  • Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Content Associate Abdallah Ewis
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Fact-Checker Jennifer Nam

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