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This lesson teaches students about the concept of migration based on environmental factors. Students learn about which regions of the world are most susceptible to forced migration due to environmental disasters or climate change. Additionally, they are introduced to the concept of conflict emerging out of environmental change.
This can be an extension of Tread Lightly 3.2 - The Climate Change Debate
Time Required: 1 class
By the end of this lesson students will:
- have an understanding of the difference between migration and displacement
- understand how environmental factors play a role in displacement and conflict
Part A - Background on environmental refugees
Part B - Discussion and intro to conflict from environmental change
Part C - Case Study
Migration - form of movement taking place voluntarily or involuntarily across or within national borders.
Displacement - describes a situation where people have been uprooted from their homes by an external event that they have no control over
Part A (20 min):
1. Explain to students the definitions of migration and displacement.
2. Give students either filled in notes (to read together) or blank note page outline to fill in as a class.
- notes outline the main points on environmental refugees
- will give students an understanding of the concept and situation
Discussion questions to ask when reading/filling in notes
a. Some events that could lead to migration – ask students to provide examples of each
b. An estimate on the amount of environmental migrants – this number has been criticized, to check understanding of points covered so far, ask students why these numbers may not be correct (either overestimate or underestimate)
Part B: Conflict due to environmental change discussion (15 min)
A report put out by the Norwegian Refugee Council outlines some potential events that can stem from climate change, which could increase the amount of environmental refugees indirectly. Conflict within countries after they have been devastated by a severe storm, flood or drought can occur due to the lack of resources from either the event that occurred or overconsumption which can lead to violet competition for them. On the other hand, environmental change could trigger more cooperation and technological advances and change.
Discuss with students which outcome they think is more likely to happen and what influences the direction of change after a devastating environmental event.
(ex - Developed country vs. underdeveloped country response, depends on how bad the devastation is and if it happens over a prolonged amount of time or rapidly)
Part C – Case study: Darfur and Indonesia (the Transmigrasi program) (35 min)
- Divide the class into 2, and have one half read the case study on Darfur and other on the Transmigrasi program
- After they have read the studies ask the following a student from each half to summarize their case study in 2 or 3 sentences
- Engage the class in a discussion with the following questions
1. What is the difference between the forced migration in Darfur and the Transmigrasi?
2. What is the same about the situations?
3. Which situation was most affected by the use of technology? (new crops, logging)
4. Neither of these cases saw the outcome when environmental change promotes increased cooperation and technological advances, could you think of any examples of this? (research on renewable energy, improvement of transit systems)
5. Ask students to think of local or examples of forced migration in their country (ex - Fort. Chipewyan in Northern Alberta, Hurricane Katrina in the U.S, extensive logging in Brazil).
- Notes either filled in or blank for students to fill in - Case Studies