Mali: The Heart of the Sahel
In the Mopti region, 80 per cent of the population lives on subsistence agriculture. Rising temperatures, decreasing rainfall, unpredictable weather, impoverishment of the land, and the encroachment of the desert lead to strong competition around arable land and natural resources, exacerbating cross-community tensions between herders, fishermen and farmers.
But climate change is not the only factor causing tension. The region is facing significant population growth and the arrival of people who have fled the conflict in the country's northern region since 2012. The arrival of armed groups poses an additional threat to the local community.
Without resources or real prospects, youth are forced to migrate to Bamako, the capital, or the subregion in search of economic opportunities. Young boys are tempted by jihadist "adventures" and self-defence militias.
Greenland: The Dilemma of the Ices
Long ignored, the Arctic has become an important geopolitical space. The melting ice, accelerated by global warming, has sparked competition and speculation around the important mineral resources - including rare earth and uranium - and hydrocarbons that the Arctic could harbour, as well as new commercial shipping routes that would significantly reduce current distances.
Greenland, eager to overcome its economic - and ultimately political - dependence vis-à-vis Denmark, is today faced with a dilemma: the exploitation of resources that are challenging to harvest versus the preservation of its environment which is central to all Inuit culture.
The current situation has seemed to temper the hopes of the Greenland authorities. Three major oil companies have abandoned their exploration license in 2016. There is too much risk, and investments are not profitable enough in the current economic context. Greenland is basing its hopes on the fishing sector, which accounts for 90 per cent of its exports, and is the main livelihood for the rural population. This increases the risk of encouraging intensive fishing and these resources are themselves changing due to climate change.
The consequences could be disastrous for the fishermen who know how to adapt and yet have few opportunities for training for another vocation.
These stories are not isolated cases. Millions of people are affected by climate change around the globe, more visibly in sub-Saharan Africa, south-east Asia and the small island states in the Pacific and the Caribbean. Reducing the damaging effects of climate change on people’s lives is an imperative, but so is adapting to and learning how to live with such effects, as some change is already irreversible.
Humans&ClimateChange Stories is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and The Greens - European Free Alliance (Verts-ALE) in the European Parliament.
For more information on this topic, please visit IOM’sEnvironmental Migration Portal.