The long history of environmental migration: Assessing vulnerability construction and obstacles to successful relocation in Shishmaref, Alaska

Type

Journal Article

Author(s)

Marino, E.

Title

The long history of environmental migration: Assessing vulnerability construction and obstacles to successful relocation in Shishmaref, Alaska

Year

2012

Journal

Global Environmental Change

Vol (No), pp

0

Abstract

Migration decisions are complex and are linked to multiple vulnerabilities, including changing ecological conditions precipitated by climate change. As ecological thresholds are met, community-wide migrations will become more common. These community-wide migrations are more likely to occur to already vulnerable populations, and may levy high social costs. In order to prevent the negative outcomes associated with forced migration and diaspora, policy intervention is likely. Our research examines the case study of Shishmaref, Alaska, where relocation as an adaptation strategy to changing ecological conditions is the only sustainable option. We find that the colonial history in Shishmaref is explicitly linked to contemporary exposure to hazards and increased vulnerability. We further assess obstacles to a State sponsored relocation. These obstacles include disaster response protocol that does not adequately accommodate climate change scenarios. Relocation planning is further complicated by feelings of mis- and under-representation of local voices in political arenas. This case demonstrates the interrelatedness between historically constructed vulnerability and obstacles to adaptation planning. We also offer unique insight into the details of relocation planning as an adaptation strategy among one of the first community-wide migrations associated with climate change.

Citation

Marino, E. (2012). “The long history of environmental migration: Assessing vulnerability construction and obstacles to successful relocation in Shishmaref, Alaska.” Global Environmental Change(0). URL : http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378011001518