Climate Migrants: Victims and Actors of Environmental Violence


Journal Article


Kenfack, C.


Climate Migrants: Victims and Actors of Environmental Violence




Human Welfare

Vol (No), pp

4(Fall 2015), 11-22


Most scholars tend to deny the reality of climate migrations, arguing that climate migrants cannot be singled out as a specific category. They suggest that migration is always a result of multiple factors and cannot be understood in isolation from a combination of socio environmental, economic and political factors. I argue against this academic position by raising the issue of scale. Based on evidence drawn from environmental/climate change induced catastrophes around the world, I demonstrate that climate/environmental migrants can be properly singled out if the appropriate geographical and numerical scales are considered. To this end, climate migrations need to be considered starting from the micro-scale silent displacements both within and between countries that result from climate catastrophes. I subsequently define the category of climate migrants in relation to environmental violence. In fact, once settled in new lands, displaced climate victims are forced to participate in violent conflicts to secure basic vital resources. In sum, I argue that we can only properly define the concept of climate migration and develop suitable policy responses if we take into account the issues of scale and environmental violence.


Kenfack, C. (2015). Climate Migrants: Victims and Actors of Environmental Violence. Human welfare, 4(Fall 2015), 11-22. Retrieved from