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  • Promjene u okolišu i ljudsk...
    Župarić-Iljić, Drago; Mesić, Milan

    Migracijske i etničke teme, 2014, 2015-00-00, 2014-12-31, Letnik: 30, Številka: 3
    Journal Article

    The 30-year anniversary of the journal Migration and Ethnic Themes (MET) is an occasion to announce a new key issue in the modern world’s future, which, in the authors’ opinion, is becoming the central theme within multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field of migration studies. This concerns the displacement of people in the local and national context as well as migration across national borders, at the regional and global level, which are directly or indirectly caused by environmental change. The recent genetic studies on the origins and development of the human race further confirm that the human ecological migrations are the first and the oldest type of migrations at all. In addition, as archaeological and other findings suggest, just this type of migration sometimes played a key role in the emergence, decay and changing of ancient civilizations. It seems that the early researchers of migration studies had a lot in mind considering changes in natural environment as an important determinant of human spatial movements. The interest for this topic in the social sciences had trailed off until the re-emergence in the second half of the 1980s. The authors accept the classification on the causal categories of “environmental migration” as: a) “natural” disasters; b) “urban-industrial” disasters, and c) exploitation and degradation of resources. Further, they deal with the definition of basic concepts, first of all with disputes about the definition of “environmental refugees” as opposed to “environmental migrants”. Finally, the authors systematize two major competing approaches to migration and migrants caused by environmental change. The first one is “the alarmist” and the second one “the sceptic” approach. Luckily, the Sceptics are able (for now) to prove that deterrent worse-case scenarios on increasingly powerful and unstoppable “waves” of environmental migrants (refugees) have not been achieved. This serves them as part of the argument that environmental drivers of human migration do not operate in isolation but in complex sets of economic, social and political (un)development of particular political communities and entire regions. However, neither they nor anyone else (unfortunately) can convincingly deny that a single cataclysmic natural disaster (such as the meteor strike on the Earth surface) may cause destruction of (part of) humanity, and conversion of large parts of our planet into a desolate area. If our (unnatural) civilization is doomed, environmental factors, by all odds, will be among its gravediggers.