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Refugee Week 2020: Preparedness, inclusivity and climate migration

By Tess Humble, who works with BCoS on Climate Change and Migration and who helped to co-ordinate The Climate and Our Community in late 2019. She is a researcher on Climate Change, Migration and Border Security.

Living through a global pandemic has highlighted the fragility of our societal systems. In times of crisis, we might be “all in it together” but we are not all effected equally.

We know that climate change does not affect people equally. As global GHGs keep rising, differing climate extremes, government preparedness and resources distribution continue to affect people’s ability to adapt locally. The numbers of climate migrants is rising globally, affecting communities and cities around the world.

How we do we prepare for not only a green transition, but one that is fair for all who are affected by climate change, including people who have had to leave their homelands? What steps do we need to take to be both prepared for, and inclusive of, climate-induced migration?

On Human Rights Day last year, 10th December 2019, Bristol held a first of its kind city-wide event on climate-induced migration, called The Climate & Our Community. The day intended to be a space for learning and exchange, with an emphasis of participation of community members and leaders from diverse backgrounds. Stories from individuals and refugees with experience of climate impacts set the tone of the day. Citizens of Bristol were given the chance to collectively explore the topics of climate change and migration and what this means in terms of community values.

We believe open and inclusive discussion is a crucial first step in preparing our citizens for a radically different world. It is also a critical aspect of collectively imaging and co-designing a fairer future for all.

A video from the event can be found here. We have also included a link to the event video and a “handbook” of how we organised the day, event outcomes and learnings. Reflections from Bristol Green Capital Partnership’s Project Assistant, Clara Fung, can be found here.

We would love to discuss ways to foster conversation on preparedness and inclusivity for climate-induced migration. Feel free to get in contact with us directly: [email protected]

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