Climate and Human Migration: Past Experiences, Future Challenges

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Overview

Studies warn that global warming and sea level rise will create hundreds of millions of environmental refugees. While climate change will undoubtedly affect future migration patterns and behavior, the potential outcomes are far more complex than the environmental refugee scenario suggests. This book provides a comprehensive review of how physical and human processes interact to shape migration, using simple diagrams and models to guide the researcher, policy maker, and advanced student through the climate-migration process. The book applies standard concepts and theories used in climate and migration scholarship to explain how events such as Hurricane Katrina, the Dust Bowl, African droughts, and floods in Bangladesh and China have triggered migrations that haven't always fit the environmental refugee storyline. Lessons from past migrations are used to predict how future migration patterns will unfold in the face of sea level rise, food insecurity, and political instability, and to review options for policy makers.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is excellent. In Climate and Human Migration, Dr. McLeman offers accessible explanations of this tremendously complex association -- convoluted processes become understandable. In this way, the book will be valuable in the university classroom. Dr. McLeman also offers a thorough summary of varied literature scattered across multiple scientific disciplines. In this way, the book will be valuable to both social and natural scientists. And finally, with his logical and level-headed approach to a topic that is sometimes presented in controversial and exaggerated terms, this book will be useful to practitioners and policymakers. Highly recommended." - Lori Mae Hunter, Environment and Society Program, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado at Boulder; Editor-in-Chief of Population and Environment

"We've needed this book for some time now. While the 'flood of climate refugees' idea (scare?) can have a certain appeal, and its 'connect the dots' logic a certain policy utility, Robert McLeman's exceptionally well researched and readable book reveals we are way off the mark in thinking that the migration repercussions of climate change will be so simplistic. Climate and Human Migration will be very valuable for research and teaching about the human dimensions of climate change. But perhaps those who need to read it most are the policy-makers in various countries who are pondering (and in some cases already formulating) perilous and dangerous policies based on the simple, unelaborated view of how migration and climate change interact." - Jon Unruh, Department of Geography, McGill University, Montreal

"McLeman eschews the hyperbole and screaming headlines that often surround this topic to unpack the complex and still evolving connections between climate change and migration. His analysis is both broad and deep in its reach and avoids the pitfalls that commonly plague the climate change and migration literature." - Geoffrey Dabelko, Ohio University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107606708
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2014
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 762,724
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert McLeman is a geography professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada, a former diplomat, and an award-winning teacher. He specializes in understanding how the natural environment influences the well-being of households and communities. His research investigates historical drought-related migration on the Great Plains, adaptation to climate change in remote and resource-dependent communities, drivers of modern-day settlement abandonment, and the effects of environmental events and conditions in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean on international migration to Canada. In writing this book, Dr. McLeman drew his inspiration from years of scholarly research and past professional experiences. His scholarly articles on migration as an adaptation to climate are widely cited, and have featured prominently in reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Government agencies in Canada, Europe, and the United States have frequently sought his advice on policy issues related to climate change, migration, and security. He is a frequent contributor on environmental issues to French and English-language public radio in Canada and the United States, and enjoys teaching introductory classes and engaging the wider public in citizen science.
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Table of Contents

1. An introduction to the study of climate and migration; 2. Why people migrate; 3. Migration in the context of vulnerability and adaptation to climatic variability and change; 4. Extreme weather events and migration; 5. River valley flooding and migration; 6. Drought and its influence on migration; 7. Mean sea level rise and its implications for migration and migration policy; 8. Emergent issues in climate and migration research.
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