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Climate And Migration From The Sahel: Causality Under Changing Skies

Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Senegalese farmers are crossing the Sahara toward Europe. They travel through Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Algeria and Libya, and across the Mediterranean to Italy. Along the way many are taken captive and robbed by bandits, rebels or the Libyan Army. They are sold as slave labor, held for ransom, beaten and spit on. Many die in the desert and drown at sea. Yet, knowing the dangers, they choose to go. The media depicts them as ‘climate refugees’. Yet these young men and their families rarely mention the weather as a cause of their plight at home or their decisions to leave. They are fleeing abusive policies, exposure to markets, debt peonage, failures of social services and a sense of hopelessness in a world where they never expect to have a dignified role in their families or communities. Casting them as climate refugees clouds out the many forces that move them. While bringing attention to climate change appears responsible and progressive, it hides the many other causes of vulnerability that must be addressed to treat the roots of a widespread subsistence crisis.

Sponsor: NYU Institute for Public Knowledge (IPK)

Speaker: Jesse Ribot, Professor of Environmental Politics - School of International Service at American University

Date: Friday, September 20, noon - 2 pm

Location: NYU Institute for Public Knowledge, 20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor

RSVP: NYU IPK

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