Course Description

Since the earliest history of humankind, people have migrated in response to environmental change.  Today there is growing concern that human-induced climate change, coupled with human settlement patterns, will lead to far greater movements of people; some movement is likely to be voluntary as people look for better opportunities elsewhere in response to changing livelihoods.  Some is likely to be involuntary – either anticipatory as people see the handwriting on the wall or reactive as people have no alternative but to move.  Some will be spontaneous – in the case of Puerto Rico where hundreds of thousands of people left Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017.  Some will be planned as in the case of Staten Island where people decided to move elsewhere, with government support, after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  Environmental displacement and migration are not just concerns for future generations;  people are already moving. This course will begin with an examination of environmental risk due to physical processes and then review the state of theoretical knowledge about patterns of migration.  The course will then look at the socio-economic, political, security, and demographic factors that affect environmental displacement and migration as well as the consequences for those who move, for the destination communities, for those left behind and for national and international politics. 

Course Objectives

Learning objectives:

  • Understand the relationship between environmental phenomena and socio-economic factors as drivers of displacement and migration
  • Analyze the relationship between environmental risk and mobility
  • Understand the normative frameworks applicable to different types of internal and cross-border migration and displacement
  • Explain basic concepts, such as vulnerability, risk, disaster risk reduction, climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Identify different disciplinary approaches to environmental migration and displacement
  • Recognize the different international institutional actors

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

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