Chapter 8: “Too Hot to Handle” – Human Migration on a Rapidly Warming Planet
This chapter has explored the emergence of two defining crises that have emerged as the most important challenges facing humanity during the Anthropocene. Although they might appear to be separate phenomena at first glance, the global refugee crisis and climate crisis are in fact dialectically related. Both are the direct result of human activities, and each crisis exerts a major influence upon the other.
Through an understanding of the extent to which climate change can lead to weather extremes that disrupt food supplies and render entire territories inhospitable for human habitation, we can understand the similarities between the lived realities of persons displaced by environmental catastrophe and those currently afforded legal protection as “refugees” under international law.
In addition, through an understanding of the various international accords and protocols ratified by the Government of Canada, we can understand that Canada has an obligation to discuss the plight of environmental and climate refugees on the international stage. And as demonstrated by its responses to recent waves in the global refugee crisis, the Government of Canada does have the capacity to enact significant changes to refugee policy in this country (and to do so quickly) when it has the will.
As settlement workers, the need to have these discussions could not be more timely or urgent. As more individuals continue to be displaced by extreme weather events than by armed conflict, we must be cognizant of the need to sharpen our own analyses and adapt our own advocacy efforts to reflect the new reality of human migration in a world that has increasingly become “too hot to handle.”
INSTRUCTOR NOTE: This activity can also serve as a marked assessment at the discretion of the instructor.