It is now widely accepted that climate change is occurring and that the detrimental consequences for global health, if no action is taken, are significant. Therefore a level of carbon awareness amongst individuals and organisations is essential. One particularly controversial outcome of climate change is migration and the concept of environmental refugees. There are currently 15.2 million ‘traditional’ political refugees and asylum seekers worldwide. However, current estimations for numbers of ‘environmental refugees’ reach as high as 50 million.
Discussions with asylum seekers in the Mersey and Chester region aided an understanding of the current asylum system in the UK. A literature search was conducted using Athens to locate relevant resources. Key resources were also identified with help from key contacts.
As individuals in the UK we have far higher carbon footprints than many other nations, and the NHS is a huge contributor to UK emissions. There is an abundance of literature on the topic of environmental refugees, with much debate over typology. Migration appears to be a complex outcome of environmental, political, social and economic factors, thus collated data is difficult to compare due to the multi-causality of the issue
Taking aside the controversial status of environmental refugees, there is much evidence to support immediate action and policy change. The international community must collaborate in order to improve current migration programmes and prepare for and adapt to the inevitable population movement.