Climate Fears Are Driving ‘Ecomigration’ Across Globe

Published on Monday, February 23, 2009 by the Washington Post

Author: Shankar Vedantam

Adam Fier recently sold his home, got rid of his car and pulled his twin 6-year-old girls out of elementary school in Montgomery County. He and his wife packed the family’s belongings and moved to New Zealand — a place they had never visited or seen before, and where they have no family or professional connections. Among the top reasons: global warming.

Adam Fier, wife Misbah Sadat and daughters Maya and Maha moved to New Zealand partly out of climate concerns. (By Leah L. Jones For The Washington Post)

Halfway around the world, the president of Kiribati, a Pacific nation of low-lying islands, said last week that his country is exploring ways to move all its 100,000 citizens to a new homeland because of fears that a steadily rising ocean will make the islands uninhabitable.

The two men are at contrasting poles of a phenomenon that threatens to reshape economies, politics and cultures across the planet. By choice or necessity, millions of “ecomigrants” — most of them poor and desperate — are on the move in search of more habitable living space. Continue reading