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WashPost: Climate Fears Are Driving 'Ecomigration' Across Globe

Author: Shankar Vedantam
February 23, 2009


As fears increase that global climate change will make more land uninhabitable, experts have noticed a sharp increase in the number of 'ecomigrants' worldwide.

Excerpt: Adam Fier recently sold his home, got rid of his car and pulled his twin 6-year-old girls out of elementary school in Montgomery County. He and his wife packed the family's belongings and moved to New Zealand--a place they had never visited or seen before, and where they have no family or professional connections. Among the top reasons: global warming.

Halfway around the world, the president of Kiribati, a Pacific nation of low-lying islands, said last week that his country is exploring ways to move all its 100,000 citizens to a new homeland because of fears that a steadily rising ocean will make the islands uninhabitable.

The two men are at contrasting poles of a phenomenon that threatens to reshape economies, politics and cultures across the planet. By choice or necessity, millions of "ecomigrants"--most of them poor and desperate--are on the move in search of more habitable living space.

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