Climate change will create natural disasters, food insecurity, and many more refugees

BRATTLEBORO — Many of us have watched the news in horror, as federal agents demonize immigrants and asylum seekers who look to the United States as a place of hope and refuge.

In what is often referred to as the “Migrant Caravan,” somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 Central Americans have been walking toward the southern U.S. border since October. Several hundred have now reached the border and were met with rubber bullets and tear gas.

There is bitter irony in this, as U.S. policies have contributed to, or even caused, the untenable conditions these people seek to escape. Experts say that alongside factors like violence, crime, and corruption, climate change is a catalyst for other major problems, including crop failures and poverty.

Both globally and here in Vermont, people who depend on small farms have become painfully aware of changes to weather patterns that can ruin crops and decimate incomes.

Everyone is affected by climate change, and things like natural disasters and food insecurity are a huge part of why people are fleeing their homes.

The World Bank estimates that in the next three decades, heat and extreme weather will force 3.9 million climate migrants to flee Central America and between 150 million and 300 million people from around the world displaced by 2050.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless as we watch events unfold, far from the southern border. Thankfully, people throughout our country are taking action and trying to make a difference, no matter how small.

Here in southern Vermont, the Community Asylum Seekers (CASP) are working to sponsor asylum seekers and welcome them into our community. In addition to needing monetary support, the organization has an ongoing need for volunteers.

Now is the time not only to connect the dots, but also to turn thoughts into action, to take steps to mitigate climate change, to speak out against borders, and to create compassionate communities worthy of the name.

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