Environmental refugees


Contrary to popular belief, most of the world’s refugees today are not fleeing oppression or violence: they are fleeing environmental disasters in their homelands, according to SIERRA magazine.

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In 1998, for the first time, more people were forced to leave their homes because of environmental disaster than because of war, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Environmental refugees now number 25 million people, 58 percent of the total worldwide population of refugees.

Floods, droughts, hurricanes, typhoons, and earthquakes are all “natural” phenomena influenced by human abuses of the environment, such as clear-cutting, damming, overtapping groundwater, ozone erosion and global warming.

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