An organization that has been assisting refugees since 1951, the International Organization for Migration, reported that “Climate change is expected to trigger growing population movements within and across borders, as a result of such factors as increasing intensity of extreme weather events, sea-level rise and acceleration of environmental degradation. In addition, climate change will have adverse consequences for livelihoods, public health, food security, and water availability. This in turn will impact on human mobility, likely leading to a substantial rise in the scale of migration and displacement.” According to the organization, there are no reliable estimates of climate change-induced migration but 200 million people by 2050 is “the most widely cited estimate.” Colin Schultz reported on the website in 2014 that researchers “found [that] high temperatures, particularly during the spring and winter farming season, were the dominant driver of mass migration. It’s not that it suddenly became too hot for people to live. But as temperature and weather patterns change, previously productive ground may become uneconomical to work. High heat wipes out the farming economy, the researchers suggest.” They found that higher temperatures “were causing Pakistani men to pack up and leave for greener pastures.” Greener pastures will be harder to find as climate change degrades the environment each year, raising the sea level and turning land into desert — fertile only for spurring the angry and displaced into violence. As I said at the beginning of this essay, there were other big events of 2015, each so indelibly etched into our consciousness that they will define the year for many. San Bernardino, Paris, Baltimore, Charleston and a still-strained Ferguson will not be forgotten. They, however, have come and gone and, in the heartless way of news, will be overtaken by some new horror. The great migration, on the other hand, will be with us for a long time — as long as there are wars, brutal leaders, racial and religious hatred, and a climate that is inexorably changing for the worse. Your support matters…

Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media.

You can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearths what's really happening- without compromise.

Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.