Climate change migration is cultural genocide - Tony de Brum
The Marshall Islands foreign minister says climate change induced migration would be akin to cultural genocide and says it should only be considered as a last resort.
The Marshall Islands foreign minister says climate change induced migration would be akin to cultural genocide.
Tony de Brum's comments as small atoll nations are to meet in Kiribati this week to look how to prepare for climate migrants to move in a dignified way.
The meeting which is organised with the help of the Prince Albert of Monaco Foundation, also looks at labour mobility as a potential mechanism to facilitate climate migration.
But the Marshall Islands' Tony de Brum told Koroi Hawkins that migrating because of the effects of climate change should only be considered if all other avenues fail.
TONY DE BRUM: First of all we think the more that we can do to prevent the outcome that we are all concerned about, the forced migration based on Climate Change is more important than actually looking for alternate sites to displace people and replace them. It is important that we see forced migration due to climate change as a final absolutely that one can only undertake when there are no more options left. We think that there is still options, we think that there are still things that you can do to prevent that from happening. Because displacement of populations and destruction of cultural language and tradition is equivalent in our minds to genocide. We do not think that it is fair to spend millions and millions of dollars to save for example a lizard that is endangered and then consider the displacement of people as just a acceptable collateral damage from climate change. People must know that climate change can be reversed if we do it now. It is still economical it produces a multitude of opportunities for economic development, but if we do not do those things then we will be set on a course of irreversible damage and even catastrophic ending of civilisation as we know it.
KOROI HAWKINS: Is the Marshall Islands already looking for alternate locations for its people?
TDB: No we are looking for ways to convince our development partners to behave more responsibly in decarbonisation in wild economic and I would like to say exploitation rather than development because when you begin to look at your economy and your bottom line as the driving force behind your governance then there is really something wrong with the world. Both climate change and nuclear weapons can be the demise of mankind. And the more people who speak up against it the better off we all will be.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: