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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Report: Warming could cause greatest human migration ever

By Arthur Max, Associated Press Writer
BONN, Germany — Global warming is uprooting people from their homes and, left unchecked, could lead to the greatest human migration in history, said a report released Wednesday.
Estimates vary on how many people are on the move because of climate change, but the report cites predictions from the International Organization for Migration that 200 million people will be displaced by environmental pressures by 2050. Some estimates go as high as 700 million, said the report, released at U.N negotiations for a new climate treaty.
Researchers questioned more than 2,000 migrants in 23 countries about why they moved, said Koko Warner of the U.N. University, which conducted the study with CARE International.
The results were "a clear signal" that environmental stress already is causing population shifts, she said, and it could be "a mega-trend of the future."
The potential for masses of humanity fleeing disaster zones or gradually being driven out by increasingly harsh conditions is likely to be part of a global warming agreement under negotiation among 192 countries.

A draft text calls on nations to prepare plans to adapt to climate change by accounting for possible migrations.
At U.S. insistence, however, the term "climate refugees" will be stricken from the draft text because refugees have rights under international law, and climate migrants do not fill the description of "persecuted" people, said Warner.
The report, "In Search of Shelter: Mapping the Effects of Climate Change on Human Migration and Displacement," studies people in some of the world's great river deltas who could be subject to glacial melt, desert dwellers who are vulnerable to increasing drought, and islanders whose entire nations could be submerged by rising sea levels.
It did not try to assess conflicts caused by climate change. The war in Sudan's desert Darfur region has partly been blamed on contested water supplies and grazing lands, and concern over future water wars has mounted in other areas of the world.
The report said 40 island states could disappear, in whole or in part, if seas rise by six feet. The Maldives, a chain of 1,200 atolls in the Indian Ocean has a plan to abandon some islands and build defenses on others, and has raised the possibility of moving the entire population of 300,000 to another country.
Melting glaciers in the Himalayas threaten repeated flooding in the Ganges, Mekong, Yangtze and Yellow river basins, which support 1.4 billion people, or nearly one-fourth of humanity, in India, southeast Asia and China. After the floods will come drought when seasonal glacier runoff no longer feeds the rivers, it said.
In Mexico and Central America drought and hurricanes have led to migrations since the 1980s and they will get worse, it said.
Homes are not always abandoned forever, the researchers said. "Disasters contribute to short-term migration," especially in countries that failed to take precautions or lack adequate responses, said Charles Ehrhart of CARE.
Most migration will be internal, from the country to the city, it said.

source:http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/globalwarming/2009-06-10-climate-change-migration_N.htm

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.