Environmental refugees: A growing category of displaced persons


Journal Article


Westing, A. H.


Environmental refugees: A growing category of displaced persons




Environmental Conservation

Vol (No), pp

19(3), 201-207


Examined here is the problem of persons compelled to flee from their areas of habitual residence. The number of such displaced persons (refugees), both nationally internal and cross-border, already in the many millions, nonetheless keeps increasing by perhaps 3 millions per year. Many of the uprooted continue to flee owing to persecution, oppression, or war. However, these triggering events appear not to have been worsening markedly in recent years. Other, more strictly environmental, refugees flee from such natural disasters as flooding, drought, and volcanic action, although these triggering events have also not been increasing in frequency or severity.
It is thus suggested here that the continuing increases in refugees result from transgressions of the carrying capacity — that is, of unsustainable increases in human (and associated livestock) numbers, often associated with site deterioration or actual habitat degradation. Such displaced persons have been referred to as ‘environmental refugees’. It is clear that in the long term the poignant dilemma of the ever-increasing numbers of refugees can be addressed only in terms of achieving environmental security within a framework of comprehensive human security.

Présente un état de situation mondial des réfugiés en général avec un focus sur l’environnement. Propose un inventaire des études existantes. Source intéressants sur les travaux des années 80′. Fait l’hypothèse que la croissance du nombre de réfugiés reconnus s’explique peut-être par des facteurs écologiques sous-jacents vu que les causes liées aux droits humains ne semble pas avoir augrmenté en importance (p. 205).


Westing, A. H. (1992). Environmental refugees: A growing category of displaced persons. Environmental Conservation, 19(3), 201-207.