Americas: Report recognises increase in climate refugees as well as risk for those defending their territory against large scale economic projects

Author: Common Dreams, Published on: 9 December 2019

“'Fleeing Not Migrating'”, 6th December 2019

…The term “climate refugee” has real meaning for Jose, who says he was forced off his family farm in Tabasco, Mexico due to pollution from oil production, which damaged crops and contributed to climate change…

“Those of us who cultivate the land, we couldn’t get money anymore for it because it was too much of a risk,” says Jose, who became a climate refugee in 2016. “People wouldn’t invest because, with climate change, they didn’t know if they’d make a profit.”

But changes in immigration law alone can’t adequately address the growing problem of climate displacement. Over a recent seven-year period, according to the World Meteorological Organization, climate-related events on average displaced 22.5 million people a year. 

Honduran farmers have been losing 80 percent or more of their corn and bean crops, says Walsh, who also notes how rising temperatures have made growing coffee much more difficult.

In recent years, a succession of rightwing governments in Honduras have made mining, agribusiness, and energy projects a priority while doing virtually nothing to protect people struggling to defend the environment, an increasingly hazardous undertaking…

And those refugees who make it to the United States border with Mexico are increasingly being denied entry…

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