03 Dec Voluntary immobility and existential security in a changing climate in the Pacific
Voluntary immobility and existential security in a changing climate in the Pacific
Asia Pacific Viewpoint
Vol (No), pp
With the expectation of adverse climate change impacts, some (often majority) Indigenous populations of the Pacific are expressing a preference to remain on Indigenous lands for cultural and spiritual reasons. In some cases, Indigenous people express preparedness to die on traditional territory rather than relo-
cate, representing a new type of agency and resistance to dispossession. This is a prominent politics of place of relevance to emerging debates and decision-making around retreat and relocation. If climate change is experienced by populations as an existential threat to culture, identity and place-based connections, voluntary immobility can be an important adaptation strategy that helps to strengthen cultural and spiritual resilience among
those facing the prospect of a lost homeland. This paper argues that voluntary immobility decisions need ethically robust and culturally appropriate policies and practices, particularly when a site is deemed by external experts to be no longer fit for human settlement. National governments, civil society groups, international organisations and donors will need to: engage in culturally meaningful dialogue with communities about relocation and immobility; respect, protect and fulfil the rights of ‘immobile’ people and those on the move; and confirm that in situadaptation options have been exhausted.
Farbotko, C., & McMichael, C. (2019). Voluntary immobility and existential security in a changing climate in the Pacific. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 60(2), 148-162. URL : https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/apv.12231