People have always been on the move to some extent. The fossil record tells us our species spread out from a small troupe of ancestors in the Rift Valley in Africa to cover the globe. Presumably people have always moved about for the same reasons we do today: better opportunity (more to eat, more water), to escape competing or hostile humans, or following some spirit of exploration.
Scientists predict the effects of climate change will put millions more on the move. Alex Randall of the UK Climate and Migration Coalition argues that we should avoid adopting simplistic pictures of "climate refugees."
That sounds more like the European movement that populated the Americas with white people than what we've seen of displacement in the contemporary wars of the Middle East -- or in the wholesale transfer of people in the European wars of the 20th century.
Many countries including Australia treat the advancing movement of people as a security threat. Latin Americans take a more nuanced view.
The Environmental Justice Foundation, a UK non-profit working internationally and the makers of the video that heads this post, think the world needs a United Nations special rapporteur on climate change and human rights -- somebody whose business it is look out for how nations are treating climate migrants.
It seems a weak response, but until problems are named and described, they will not be acted on. Sign EJF's petition here.
This is an international Blog Action Day post, raising up issues of human rights for all.