Reiko Obokata

About Reiko Obokata

Reiko Obokata is an MA candidate at the University of Ottawa, Canada working under the supervision of Dr. Luisa Veronis, and within a broader SSHRC-funded research project entitled Environmental Influences and International Migration to Canada. Her thesis research was conducted with Filipino newcomers in Ottawa and examines the relationship between environmental factors and transnational migration.

Flooding Across Borders? Are Environmental Problems Causing International Migration?

Nearly 30 years ago, the term “environmental refugee” came into regular use, and today’s incarnation – the “climate change refugee” – continues to provoke popular and political interest. Using the term “environmental/climate refugee” to describe people who move for environmental reasons (e.g. drought, flooding, pollution, natural disasters) has, however, sparked numerous debates. The disputes are partially related to the fact that the legal definition of a refugee does not include protection for people displaced by the environment. In addition, it can be difficult to disentangle environmental from other motivations for migration, such as economic and political ones. Continue reading