Rethinking Climate Change and Migration: From Victims to Agents of Change

While it is a prevailing perception that migrants are primarily victims of climate change, the reality is far more complex.

International organizations have projected that millions of people will be forced to migrate due to climate change in the next decades, with the World Economic Forum labelling them as “the world’s forgotten victims” due to their lack of legal protections. However, the portrayal of migrants as passive victims being pushed by uncontrollable forces is an incomplete picture. Many people have voluntarily migrated from the countryside to areas of greater climate vulnerability for better livelihood opportunities. Moreover, migrants contribute to the formation of transnational businesses and actively engage in political activities within their destination countries, often advocating for causes such as climate adaptation related to their countries of origin. This economic and political engagement holds immense potential for combating the climate change emergency.

Within this context, our panel will explore questions such as:

1. In which ways are diaspora groups helping communities of origin adapt to climate change?
2. If there any role from green diaspora bonds or green diaspora investments?
3. What is the role of migrants as political agents in the fight against climate change in their countries of destination?

Chair: Carlos Vargas-Silva – Professor in Migration Studies, Centre on Migration Policy and Society and Oxford Department of International Development, University of Oxford

Welcome: Abel Valenzuela – Professor of Urban Planning and Chicana/o Studies, Dean for UCLA Division of Social Sciences

This is a joint event with the North American Integration and Development Center/Indigenous, Migrante and Frontline Community Center (NAID/IMFC), UCLA