Climate Refuges

Tonight while I sat here sanding and repairing the latest chair, I decided to watch a documentary that came highly recommended.  The documentary is called Climate Refuges and it was eye-opening and scary.

When we here in the US here officials talk about climate change or global warming, it’s usually something that is down the road.  We hear ‘sure the glaciers are melting but it’s not much yet’ or even comments that Al Gore has made all this up.  I really don’t care who or what is causing the planet to warm and glaciers to melt I have felt a need to do my part to leave my corner of the world a little better for future generations so they too can have and appreciate the things I grew up assuming would always be there.


Tonight after watching Climate Refuges, my need to stay true to my desire to do no harm is even stronger.   I want to share a few topics from the movie you may not know.

  1. The government of the Maldive Islands have been actively (yes already) asking for “real estate” to move their population as the islands are being overtaken by rising waters.  They aren’t worried about 10 years from now, but right now. They want a large enough geographical piece of land to move their citizens to because they feel they won’t survive there much longer.
  2. The Tuvalu Island is also worried in just the past year a large amount of their coastal areas have been claimed by the sea.  You can see pictures of palm trees that use to be on land now in the ocean.  They have nowhere to go.  The powers that be of other nations, yes like the US, only allow political refuges, not those who need to leave because their homeland is no longer livable.  An older woman explained their problem.  You must have a job to relocate to another country, but if you are over 45 no one wants to give you a job.  She’s concerned she will be washed away because no one will allow her to move elsewhere before her island is swamped by sea water.
  3. Other areas were highlighted in the documentary with populations in the millions who are at or near sea level and are already seeing their land swallowed up by water. They have nowhere to go, what country can take on another 6 million people at one time?
  4. When, not if, people need to evacuate their homes for higher ground, it is expected that other nations will refuse to let them enter their borders.  The numbers of people trying to enter the US from Mexico is nothing compared to the numbers of people who will try to enter as their lands are overtaken by water.
  5. It is expected that wars will break out to keep people trying to escape rising water from entering into their countries and use up their limited resources.
  6. In China many areas have become deserts that used to be farm and agricultural lands. One such area is only 100 miles from Bangkok.  Rice fields are no more in these areas and shortages of food is already growing.
  7. As China continues to see its fertile land turned into deserts it is expected the government will seek food from the US to feed its people.  The consensus was that the US will not be able to say no as China is the one supporting our debt. What will happen if our country starts to send our food to China while our own country sees droughts similar to last years? Will we have enough food for our own people.


These are all hard questions and troubling situations which are already happening.  It’s time to stop questioning if this is just another cyclical period the earth goes through, or if we are causing it, and begin to take steps to protect what good is left without exploitation.

Tonight I realize my actions aren’t enough to protect a future for my grand children and great grand children, but I will keep trying to make a difference and hope others see something I am doing and adopt similar behaviors before it’s too late.  We need everyone to start living a simpler life.   For me, I believe growing even more of my own food will help as the price of food should we start having shortage will be necessary to survive.  Cutting back everywhere by everyone is the first step.

Are you concerned with the changes you see and what are you doing to protect your family?



  1. In ancient times people moved because of climate change which started great wars and the collapse of empires. It was climate change which set off a chain of events that brought Julius Caesar to the gates of my town of Colchester. In this modern era people are no longer able to now move to another part of the world when climate change threatens due to population levels.


    • I didn’t realize that’s what drove Caeser north, I (from school) learned he was just trying to build a larger empire. That topic concerning how we used to be able to move freely is no longer available now that we have political boundaries established. There is so much to consider when we think of the changes that are happening and will only get worse and the huge population we will have to relocate.


      • It all started when climate change forced Germanic peoples to invade lands that were allied to Rome, which then caused the Gaulish wars. The Druids in Britain were promoting rebellion against Rome in Gaul, and a reason to invade Britain by Caesar came about because the ruler of my town of Colchester was murdered and his son fled to Caesar for help against a usurper. Caesar then invaded and came to Colchester.


        • Alex, I so enjoy the history I learn from you. History wasn’t something I enjoyed in school it was all about remembering dates, then when my eldest son reached maybe 8 history became his passion and he shared with me everything he learned. I became his resource to drive him to which ever place he deemed would be able to give him more information.


  2. It’s the wrong time of day for me to try to express a cohesive thought. All I can think of is how scary this is. I will go through this day with more awareness about the impact of my choices on the people you mentioned. Having specific examples can be so powerful.


    • Sorry to bring you down so early. It is so scary and I worry not only for those people in harms way but how this will affect everyone as a result. Before watching the documentary, I knew it would happen in time, but have been naive enough to think it wouldn’t bother my corner of the world because I live far enough from the coast line. One part that nearly had me in tears was the story of a 7 or 8 year old boy who asked the film maker to go back to the US and ask the people to help his country because he sees his country being swallowed up by the sea.


    • Immigration laws are so outdated and do need to be updated, but I don’t think we are going to see them changed in time to help these people. I got the impression that countries will try to look out for their own people which would entail protecting the resources from others. The subject touched on the US by showing how many people would need to be relocated just from Florida alone if the levels should rise by only a couple feet. Where do we move all those people from Florida while still opening our borders to other nations being lost? I sat here last night thinking of all the abandoned homes in cities, like Detroit, that could help, but do we have enough homes left to fill the needs?


  3. Here in Australia there is a lot of concern about China buying up huge pastoral and agricultural properties to help secure their future food requirements. What about Australia’s needs and what is our government doing about it? Australia has huge areas of desert and non-arable land even though we only have a relatively small population.

    As far as climate refugees go, I think Australia is going to have an enormous obligation as many of our near neighbours are low-lying Pacific islands.

    It is all a very scary prospect and one which makes me all the more determined that my choice of minimal impact lifestyle is the only option and I will continue to encourage others to do the same.


    • Fairy, I’m sorry to hear that China may come knocking to claim some of your land for their food consumption. Do you think your country will try to absorb as many of the Island people being forced from their homes? Are you concerned with your own country and the vast coast line?

      I am worried about the debt we have taken on from China, we are beholden to them for all our wars and excess spending and will be stuck having to help them but at what cost?

      It is scary, and like you I think the best choice for me is to continue to live simply and make all of my decisions with deliberate thought first to conserve as best as I can. Good luck to you and your country as this worsens.


  4. Further to Fairy’s comment, the Chinese are also actively pursuing buying electricity and similar utilities. It’s fine whilst we’re allies, but if something changes, it could be crippling to the populace. In a small apartment, without electricity, I’d struggle to prepare food. And I don’t grow my food now that I’m in the inner city.


    • I had no idea how things were fairing in your part of the world. It is scary all the things we don’t know. It surprises me that our governments are well aware of the situation but especially here, they are not doing any thing about it.


  5. “Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced Australia would provide $15 million to rehabilitate 40 kilometres of main road in South Tarawa, Kiribati, which has been undermined by rising sea levels and coastal erosion.

    Speaking from Kiribati, Senator Carr said the works were essential if the nation was to survive the impact of climate change.

    “Kiribati is at the front line of climate change,” Senator Carr said.

    “Its highest point is now just three metres above sea level.

    “Unless action is taken, Kiribati will be uninhabitable by 2030 as a result of coastal erosion, sea level rise and saltwater intrusion into drinking water.”

    Lois this is part of a media release from the Minister of Foreign Affairs. My husband takes a group of senior students to Kiribati every year. He’s done this for the last 14 years and has noticed coconut trees dying and well water being infiltrated since he started going there. King tides are a huge problem.


    • Jen, that is so sad. I’m glad someone is trying to do something, but I can’t imagine any thing they do now will be a permanent fix. To have sea water infiltrating the wells is so scary. What will they do without clean drinking water, and to have their trees which they use for food dying already, I can only imagine that they will have trouble growing any food for eating. It’s all so sad. Thanks for sharing this, I am shocked by how wide spread conditions already are when we still hear people debating whether or not climate change is occurring and talking about it as down the road.


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