The American climate migration has already begun
(The Guardian, 23 Feb 2023) Last year, 3 million were displaced in the US. Millions more will follow – and neither they, the government or the housing market are ready.
Over the past decade, the US has experienced a succession of monumental climate disasters. Hurricanes have obliterated parts of the Gulf Coast, dumping more than 50in of rain in some places. Wildfires have denuded the California wilderness and destroyed thousands of homes. A once-in-a-millennium drought has dried up rivers and forced farmers to stop planting crops. Many of these disasters have no precedent in living memory, and they have dominated the headlines as Americans process the power of a changing climate.
But the disasters themselves are only half the story. The real story of climate change begins only once the skies clear and the fire burns out, and it has received far less attention in the mainstream media.
In the aftermath of climate disasters, as victims try to cope with the destruction of their homes and communities, they start to move around in search of safe and affordable shelter. Many of them have no choice but to move in with family members or friends, while others find themselves forced to seek out cheaper apartments in other cities. Some rebuild their homes only to sell them and move to places they deem less vulnerable, while others move away only to return and lose their homes again in another storm or fire.
The Guardian, 23 Feb 2023: The American climate migration has already begun