Moving Stories: the voices of people who move in the context of environmental change
The voices of people who move in the context of environmental change are absent from the debate about how we addresses the issue.
Moving Stories highlights these powerful, inspiring and often traumatic stories. We compiled Testimonies from ten regions across the world. These came from local news reports, academic journals and interviews recorded by NGOs. The stories highlight different kinds of movement affected by slow– and rapid–onset disasters. The stories show us that movement linked to environmental change is different across the world. The stories also reveal that individual decisions to move or stay vary in even response to the same disaster.
“I go to get registered [as an IDP] and they dismiss me. I don’t want to live here. I don’t want my children out on the streets. In my village I have little but I look after my family.”
There is no “typical” migrant. Moving Stories shows the reality of migration and environmental change. Some stories show how people have used seasonal and temporary, rather then permanent, movement to adapt. Other stories show that remittances have increased the resilience of people affected by disasters. These testimonies give a human voice to this complex and controversial issue.
“…times have changed … The rain is coming later now, so that we produce less. The only solution is to go away, at least for a while. Each year I’m working for 3 to 5 months in Wyoming. That’s my main source of income.”
We don’t have all the answers. But we hope the Moving Stories project helps us to ask better questions about how to address this issue. How can moving become an empowering way for some people to adapt to climate change? What is the role of remittances in building resilience to climate change? Will our existing legal frameworks for protecting the rights of people who move be up to the job in a generation’s time?
“About ﬁve years ago the sea ice used to take longer to melt. It lasted about 10 months but now it’s only 8 months. This harms our way of life, our way of hunting, our way of ﬁshing, and our way of travelling from one place to another.”
These are all unanswered questions. We designed the Moving Stories project to help everyone consider these questions. If the voices of affected communities are absent from the debate, we have no hope of finding solutions for the people who need them most.
Authors: Alex Randall, Jo Salsbury, Zach White.
Editor: Rebecca Sullivan