There was some debate at CARFMS on the category of ‘climate refugees,’ whether this is a useful construct or a problematic conceptualization and narrative. Ted Itani, a deeply experienced former United Nations official now affiliated with the Pearson Centre at the University of Toronto, made the important point that within the next fifteen years the citizens of certain states, like the Maldives, will no longer have a homeland because of rising ocean levels.
The issue of the impact of climate change on already vulnerable populations within stressed states and societies was given powerful visual form by Kevin Boiragi, a graduate student and documentary film director who presented his film Climate Refugees of Bangladesh (pictured). The film is available for viewing at: vision.rcinet.ca and on Google-is-tracking YouTube.
A final noteworthy presentation was by Carleton University Professor Jay Drydyk who’s book (co-authored with G. Peter Penz) Displaced by Development is an attempt to think through and elaborate the rights that people facing displacement should enjoy based on agreed values. The values he and his co-author listed and he discussed are:
- Environmental sustainability
- Human rights
- Cultural freedom
- Integrity in relation to corruption
The four moral rights they identify are:
- Right of non-victimization.
- Right of equitable sharing in benefits.
- Right of good reason.
- Right of equitable empowerment.
This was also a videotaped presentation and I will link to it when it becomes available.