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Farbotko, Carol, and Heather Lazrus. “The first climate refugees? Contesting global narratives of climate change in Tuvalu.” Global Environmental Change 22.2 (2012): 382-390. Climate change effects such as sea-level rise are almost certain. What these outcomes mean for different populations, however, is far less certain. Climate change is both a narrative and material phenomenon. In so being, understanding climate change requires broad conceptualisations that incorporate multiple voices and recognise the agency of vulnerable populations. In climate change discourse, climate mobility is often characterised as the production of ‘refugees’, with a tendency to discount long histories of ordinary mobility among affected populations. The case of Tuvalu in the Pacific juxtaposes migration as everyday practice with climate refugee narratives. This climate-exposed population is being problematically positioned to speak for an entire planet under threat. Tuvaluans are being used as the immediate evidence of displacement that the climate change crisis narrative seems to require. Those identified as imminent climate refugees are being held up like ventriloquists to present a particular (western) ‘crisis of nature’. Yet Tuvaluan conceptions of climate challenges and mobility practices show that more inclusive sets of concepts and tools are needed to equitably and effectively approach and characterise population mobility. Perspectives of climate-vulnerable populations are needed in adaptation planning. ► Everyday practices of migration conflict with climate refugee subjectivities. Mobility can be a source of resilience for climate vulnerable populations.

Farbotko, Carol. “Wishful sinking: disappearing islands, climate refugees and cosmopolitan experimentation.” Asia Pacific Viewpoint 51.1 (2010): 47-60. Disappearing islands and climate refugees have become signifiers of the scale and urgency of uneven impacts of climate change. This paper offers a critical account of how sea level rise debates reverberate around Western mythologies of island laboratories. I argue that representations of low‐lying Oceania islands as experimental spaces burden these sites with providing proof of a global climate change crisis. The emergence of Tuvalu as a climate change ‘canary’ has inscribed its islands as a location where developed world anxieties about global climate change are articulated. As Tuvalu islands and Tuvaluan bodies become sites to concretize climate science’s statistical abstractions, they can enforce an eco‐colonial gaze on Tuvalu and its inhabitants. Expressions of ‘wishful sinking’ create a problematic moral geography in some prominent environmentalist narratives: only after they disappear are the islands useful as an absolute truth of the urgency of climate change, and thus a prompt to save the rest of the planet.

Tuvalu, a remote island nation in the Pacific may seem an unlikely scientific battleground. But this tiny developing nation is on the front line of climate change. If sea levels rise as much as many climate change researchers predict, Tuvalu could one day disappear. The country’s topography makes it vulnerable: the highest land is just five metres above sea level. This year, Tuvalu has had some of its highest ever tides nearly 1.5 metres above the average. A sea level rise of 20-40 centimetres in the next 100 years could make Tuvalu uninhabitable, severely eroding coasts, contaminating agricultural land and undermining buildings. But not of all the scientists who flock to Tuvalu agree on the evidence. In this article in Nature Samir Patel reports on their debates. Some say the observations show that sea levels are rising much faster on Tuvalu than the global average of two millimetres a year. Others dispute this, saying the rise is no faster than elsewhere, while some argue that poor coastal management is contributing to erosion in tandem with rising seas. Meanwhile, Tuvalu itself has taken action joining the UN specifically to highlight climate change, and making plans for resettlement. While many locals feel this could threaten their cultural identity, it may be the price they have to pay for survival.

RELATED POST: LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2021/06/18/climate-change-drowning-islands/


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by: chaamjamal on: November 13, 2021