Climate Change and Migration Crisis – Holy Father Connects the Dots

The Catholic Church, a worldwide faith with parishes in countries around the globe, views issues such as climate change through an international lens. A warming world is partly responsible for the worldwide migration crisis that is now underway. In his encyclical, Laudato Si’, the Holy Father observes:

Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by the phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing, and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited. For example, changes in climate, to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this, in turn, affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes, with greater uncertainty for their future and that of their children. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. (Laudato Si’, par. 25)

War and religious persecution also spur migration, but a recent New York Times article offers a fascinating map which overlays rising temperatures with migration patterns. See “How a Warming Planet Drives Human Migration.”