2.7 Climate Change Effects: Migration

Author: Alyssa Stellato

ABSTRACT: There are numerous impacts that climate change has on humanity and there have been large events that lead to major population shifts, which will be depicted below. This sector will focus on the migration of populations due to environmental factors and the earth’s changing climate.

Retrieved from ODI: Infographics: climate change, migration and displacement, 2016


Internal displacement in countries due to global warming is very common due to natural disasters and environmental changes. Sadly, many of the populations that are suffering with the effects of global warming are those people who belong to lower income and lower social status societies. People living in third world countries are those who are most likely to be affected by natural disasters striking, leaving them displaced, without a home (IDMC, 2020). This is not to say that displacements do not occur in the richest of countries as well. In 2020, wildfires pushed through a large amount of California and Ohio displacing thousands of families. Other natural disasters like monsoon rains causing the flooding of Bangladesh caused 5.4 million people to lose their homes and seek refuge in other parts of the world (IDMC, 2020). Natural disasters are happening more frequently causing people to leave the areas in which they live. If the country is constantly having environmental problems it can be very difficult for the country to be sustainable.

Draughts and heavy rainfall are also big contributing factors to migration caused by global warming. Draughts caused by global warming kill crops and flooding of farmland drowns out crops subsequently killing them. This reduces the amount of food and raw ingredients to make food. If a country relies on its food exports to support the population and then the crops all die, a great problem arises and people flee to better living conditions causing farmers to lose their jobs and the whole country suffers. Changes in the food supply chain can also arise from changes in sea level from melting glaciers as well as tornadoes and hurricanes. Disrupted waterways make fishing very difficult and many of the fish get washed up and killed. Another major issue with flooding occurring in parts of the world is the chance of landslides occurring. Landslides happen when the supporting layer of earth is eroded or washed away, allowing for huge masses of earth to slide down mountains like an avalanche. When this happens, roadways are blocked and washed out, limiting access around land areas. Landslides are also very dangerous because they can send large amounts of earth and boulders towards homes and cars, instantly killing any person or animal in its way. Destruction is also caused to the wildlife and vegetation in the area because the trees get knocked down with the landslides.

Earthquakes are another natural occurring disaster that causes major destruction to the land, crops and homes in the area. An earthquake can also cause separations in the earth, creating dangerous cracks that people can fall into. Flooding, extreme temperatures and fires as well as weather that is constantly changing make living in some parts of the world very difficult. If parts of the world that would typically be the homes of millions of people are now destroyed and uninhabitable, those people will be forced to leave everything they own behind and relocate. Relocating when it’s not your choice is a very difficult situation to be in, especially when sometimes these people are separated from their families when floods sweep family members away. Many people die as a result of these naturally occurring events but they are only becoming more and more frequent due to global warming and climate change.


Briefing Paper – IDMC. https://www.internal-displacement.org/sites/default/files/publications/documents/201509-global-leaving-no-one-behind-en.pdf

Event, Virtual. “Climate Change, Migration and Displacement in East Africa.” IDMC, 1 Jan. 2021, https://www.internal-displacement.org/events/climate-change-migration-and-displacement-in-east-africa.

Event, Virtual. “Climate Change, Migration and Displacement in East Africa.” IDMC, 27 Jan. 2021, https://www.internal-displacement.org/events/climate-change-migration-and-displacement-in-east-africa.

Response Plan Bangladesh – Reliefweb. https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/HCTT_HRP_Bangladesh-floods_August%202016_FINAL%20%281%29.PDF.


Alyssa Stellato is a certified Fashion Stylist, who is also studying in her fifth year of the Fashion Communications program at Ryerson University located in Toronto, Canada.

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