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Wyomingites Learn About Climate Refugees

PHOTO: There's a warning about a new kind of refugee crisis  one connected to a changing climate. The stories about how climate-related disasters have, and are, displacing people around the world are featured in a new film that was shown in Jackson last night. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
PHOTO: There's a warning about a new kind of refugee crisis one connected to a changing climate. The stories about how climate-related disasters have, and are, displacing people around the world are featured in a new film that was shown in Jackson last night. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
December 30, 2013

JACKSON, Wyo. - There's a warning about a new kind of refugee crisis - one connected to a changing climate. Stories about how climate-related disasters are displacing people around the world are featured in a new film that was shown in Jackson on Sunday. The documentary comes from Refugees International, a nonprofit that works to end displacement crises worldwide.

Refugees International board member Tatiana Maxwell lives in Wyoming, which she admits feels far away from the natural disasters documented by the film - disasters increasing in force and frequency around the world.

"Wyoming has had its own share of refugees coming from different places," she said. "There will be 250 million people who are going to have to find someplace else to live by 2050."

The typhoon in the Philippines last month is still fresh in Maxwell's mind, but she pointed out that disasters sometimes grow over time - such as long-term drought and water scarcity.

"This is affecting 20 million people, for instance, in West Africa," she said. "It's highly unlikely they're going to be able to continue to live there. They don't want to move, but it's become increasingly impossible for them to live there."

Maxwell added that their goal is to make sure people have safe places to live, not to debate the politics of climate change.


Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY