Chapter 17: Approaches to Researching Environmental Change and Migration: Methodological Considerations and Field Experiences from a Global Comparative Survey Project
Koko Warner This chapter addresses current experience identifying the impact of environmental change on human mobility, migration and displacement with an emphasis on methodological issues. Scientific findings about anthropogenic climate change and its actual and potential dramatic impacts on human societies have spurred discussions about the impact of environmental change on human mobility, migration and displacement (IPCC, 2007). This has included recent discussion in many forums about the impact of environmental change including climate change on human mobility, migration and displacement (Warner et al., 2009a). It is important to understand the role of environmental change among other variables in contributing to human mobility, migration and displacement. Beyond scientific understanding, the role of environmental change may have highly differentiated impacts on migration, and requires a variety of policy responses ranging from identifying adaptation strategies that allow people to remain where they currently live and work to identifying resettlement strategies that protect people’s lives and livelihoods when they are unable to remain (Martin and Warner, 2010). The central research question has revolved around what happens to the dependent variable of human mobility, migration and displacement when the independent variable (environmental change) changes. The general hypothesis has been formed that changes in the environment in the future will drive migration in significant, possibly new patterns. The hypothesis draws on observations that forms of environmental change have already affected human movements. These examples are drawn from two sets of observations: marginal environmental impacts along with other factors such as historic cases of cultural decline...
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