Chapter 6: Environmental Drivers of Migration
6.1 INTRODUCTION The term ‘environmental’, when used in the context of drivers of migration, can be either: (1) a broader notion of ‘environment’ that is largely social in content, or (2) a narrower notion of ‘environment’ that is largely physical in content. An example of the use of the first notion, which refers to the social context of people’s lives, is a phrase like ‘it’s the place’s fault!’ Here, some combination of features of the place is so threatening to one’s well-being, that it provokes the powerful response of out-migration. The second is confined to ‘environment’ in the physical sense; that is, the combination of forces, geological, biological, meteorological and so on that make up the physical and material context of our lives. This second notion can in turn be divided into environment (a) as a strong force of fact, as for example, in the case of the presence or absence of a large reservoir of oil, or (b) as a weaker force of preference and perception, like dull skies, cold winters, fine scenery, beautiful wildlife. To take the first case: the development of North Sea oil and gas deposits, in the context of massive price rises in 1973 and 1979, led to a boom in the economies of Aberdeen and other places in eastern and north-eastern Scotland in the 1975–2000 period, which, in turn, led to significant in-migration and settlement. As this example shows, even these physical forces, both strong and weak, are not just physical in...
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