“Migration is a risk management strategy,” says Susan Martin, the Donald G. Herzberg professor of international migration at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, in this week’s podcast. “It's a way people have coped for millennia when the environment changes.” But climate change is forcing a new calculus on many households and communities who face a dynamic mix of economic, political, demographic, and environmental pressures.
“‘Migration’ can be a very positive thing for people,” says Martin, whereas “‘displacement’ may be positive in being lifesaving but not necessarily positive in terms of people's future wellbeing.”
Martin sees the dichotomy between migration and displacement through a series of climate-induced shifts in mobility patterns.
“Drought and rising sea levels are likely to lead to gradual movements of people,” she says. In fact, people manage these kinds of risks with anticipatory migration as environmental conditions decline. Often some family members