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Climate Change: Youth and Migration

Photo Credit : Sagar Pandey

Climate change is one of the serious global threatening issues at recent times. Despite the controversy surrounding the various climate models generally suggesting that the human borne green house gases emissions is the major reason behind the global warming, one cannot deny the fact that the climate is changing unexpectedly.

The effects of climate change is more alarming in the developing countries  like Nepal which lies in the vicinity of the Great Himalayan Ranges in spite of the fact that it contributes very negligible amount of the global green house gases emissions. The altered weather patterns are hindering the Nepalese people livelihood ,that is, agriculture.

The main areas the climate change issue encompasses include: the poverty, employment, health and nutrition, gender and the socially vulnerable groups and the socially vulnerable groups happens to be the children, youth, marginalized groups and the aged groups.  The climate change induced weather extremities and the environmental degradation increase the human vulnerability. The global warming along with the unpredictable weather patterns has led to the outbreak of the pests in crops decreasing the productivity and also inducing the natural resource depletion. This has cut off the income generating sources in the poor communities and as such intensifying the fight for survival thus giving rise to various dimensions of the conflict and deprivation. The conflict forces much pressure on non renewable natural resources and its consequent depletion.

One of the most serious effects of the climate change on youth is the migration. It is not only the environmental rapid issues such as storms, soil erosion, flood, earthquakes etc that forces the migration to happen. In fact it is due to the complex interrelated climatic, demographic socio economic and the environmental issues that leads to migration. The poor small holders have no sufficient finance and the resources to adapt with the climate change. These are often referred as the trapped population who are compelled to live under the harsh conditions than the migrants. The trapped ones especially contain the adults and adolescents, who are not only responsible for the income generation in the family but also the means for the adaptation with the changing climate. These are the youth who are the only single migrants in the family providing finance and resources to their family for combating the environmental and climatic alterations. Thus, the adolescents and the youths are among the most vulnerable in the context of ecological change and migration. The legal and regular migration is likely to have greater benefits as they may be able to help others to adjust with rapidly changing climatic conditions. However, the irregular and illegal migration may lead to smuggling and other negative youth related issues.

Migration can be the important form of adaptation. It is important to support the rural adaptation oriented households which support and address the trapped households and their young members. The migration leads to the increased remittance which uplifts the living standards, improved infrastructures and the working conditions which not only benefits the youth but also children and the other family members left behind. But the most important need is the involvement of the migrants and their networks affected by the climate change in political decision making and planning processes.