Islander mobilities: Any change from climate change?

Kelman, I., R. Stojanov, S. Khan, O.A. Gila, B. Duží, and D. Vikhrov
International Journal of Global Warming
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Title: Viewpoint paper. Islander mobilities: any change from climate change?

Authors: Ilan Kelman; Robert Stojanov; Shabana Khan; Oscar Alvarez Gila; Barbora Duží; Dmytro Vikhrov

IRDR and IGH, UCL, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT, London, England, UK 
Geographical Migration Centre, Department of Social Geography and Regional Development, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Albertov 6, 128 43 Praha 2, The Czech Republic 
University of Amsterdam, Plantage Muidergracht 14, 1018 TV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 
Faculty of Letters, University of the Basque Country, Unibertsitateko pasealekua, 5, 01006 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain 
Department of Structural Policy of the EU and Rural Development, Faculty of Economics, University of South Bohemia, Studentská 13, 370 05 Č. Budějovice, The Czech Republic 
Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education (CERGE-EI) in Prague, Politických vězňů 7, Prague 111 21, Czech Republic

Abstract: Climate change is often stated as being likely to cause the forced movement of millions of people, especially from low-lying island communities. Without denying such potential, these statements are not always placed in wider and deeper understandings of mobility and non-mobility. Instead, the mobilities literature demonstrates the complexity of the topic and the extensive factors influencing choices and lack of choices, with poverty being a significant factor for the latter. To contribute towards understanding these complexities, this conceptual paper applies wider mobilities literature to the specific case of low-lying island communities potentially threatened by climate change, demonstrating the relevance of the wider mobilities literature to the discussions of islander mobilities under climate change. The key message is that different forms of mobility and non-mobility together could be used by islanders to address climate change, as long as resources are made available for the islanders to enact their own choices. Overall, without denying the major challenges which climate change brings to islanders, climate change nonetheless brings little substantive which is new to discussions of islander mobilities. Instead, islander mobilities under climate change will be understood best by placing climate change in context as one driver amongst many of mobility and non-mobility.

Keywords: climate change; culture; displacement; global warming; environmental change; islanders; islands; migration; mobility; refugees; island communities; resource availability.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGW.2015.073056

Int. J. of Global Warming, 2015 Vol.8, No.4, pp.584 - 602

Available online: 16 Nov 2015