Global Issues
Writing Assignment # 2
Climate and Migration


Since the Neolithic Revolution, with he shift to food production, societies have become more sedentary, and have depended on natural resources in order to settle communities. For example, communities started to emerge along rivers, lakes, and oceanic costs so that water could be used for crop irrigation, and to get resources, such as fish and salt. Nevertheless, nature is unpredictable, and when there is a climate change, sedentary communities are significantly affected. In West Africa, droughts have displaced people, and caused out-migration, affecting communities in different ways. The Sahel region, in the South of the Sahar desert, and North of the tropical zone, along the equator, is one of the unstable regions in the world, regarding climate change.
Geographically, the Sahel region is critically located. Too many factors play a major role in this region, causing degradation of the land. First, there are global scale factors such as the sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies (Hagos & Cook 2008). In their article, Hagos and Cook studied the causes of droughts along the Sahel region. This study showed that both Atlantic and Indian Ocean temperatures have played a major role in Sahelís weather. The SST anomalies are based on the differences in temperatures between the two oceans. In other words, global warming is impacts negatively this region since the oceans are unevenly warmed. In addition to the SST anomalies, desertification, and poorness in the regions are other factors to point out. Desertification, although driven by the desert climate, can be human made since people still depend upon nature to survive. As the region is poor in terms of economy, people find fuelwood as source of energy for their kitchens, what increases desertification, though in a small scale.
There are several issues linked to climate change in the Sahel region. According to Africa Renewal magazine, the Sahel region faces many issues, from fragile economy to irregular rainfalls. Due to its location, the region is very susceptible to water shortage, and land degradation, problems often linked to anthropogenic climate change. For instance, this region faced a severe droughts through the 1970s and 1980s what triggered a large decline of the economy (Hagos & Cook, 2008). In addition, according to the U.N. Climate Change Report, during droughts years, the region suffers a decline in food production, shortage fuelwood, famine, and so on. Consequently, people always find out-migration as the copping mechanism. As shown in the U.N. case study, a young man, who used to live in the Lake Chad region, was significantly affected by drought, and he had to move from the region, and find a new place to live. This basically illustrates how droughts are a major issue for the Sahel region, and how they are closely related to population.
Certainly, it is possible to solve the problem that the region is facing. However, the issues are as complicated in local scale as they are in global scale. According to the article Responding to Climate Change, from NASA, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, involves changing the human culture of consumption, by reducing the greenhouse emission. This is in a global scale, but also, this is probably the viable solution for Sahel region weather. In fact, Hagos and Cook reported in their study that the recovery observed in Sahel during the 1990s was due to the change in SST anomalies; A little variation in temperature of the two oceans was the cause of that recovery. This way, this study shows that human will continue to depend upon weather conditions, which decreases the chances of humans changing the current situation in the Sahel region.
Nevertheless, the fact that a long-term solution depends mostly upon nature forces does not mean that there is nothing to do regarding the Sahel region. As the U.N. case study showed, the region is poor and it impacts the local capability to cope with environmental issues such as droughts. It is important to understand that the major issue is not that the region is dry, but how people deal with droughts. Thus, it is notable that the main problem is poverty in the region, what limits local people solutions. According to Africa Renewal Magazine, in 2013, the European Union and the World Bank pledged over $8.2 billion in order