Mariah Stephens


Approximately 2.4 billion people, or about forty percent of the global population, live within sixty miles (one hundred kilometers) of a coastline. The United Nations (“U.N.”) determined that “a sea level rise of half a meter could displace 1.2 million people from low-lying islands in the Caribbean Sea and the Indian and Pacific Oceans, with that number almost doubling if the sea level rises by two metres.” The U.N. also reports that “sudden weather-related hazards” have internally displaced an annual average of 21.5 million people since 2008. Within the next few decades, this number is likely to continue to increase. As sea levels rise and weather events become more frequent and severe, ecosystems will begin to collapse, clean water and fresh food will be harder to find, coasts and islands will be engulfed by the sea, shelters will be damaged by storms and fires, and biodiversity will suffer. Though many individuals will rebuild in hopes of preserving their homes and families, their determination to stay could result in dangerous conditions and political turmoil; others will have no choice but to abandon their homes in search of a safer future, a phenomenon that has come to be known as “The Great Climate Migration.”