Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

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Climates of Migration (2012–2014)

The three-year research project Climates of Migration was a joint project of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society and the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities in Essen (KWI), generously funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The project looked at the historical intersections between environmental change and migration and was particularly interested in climate-induced movements of people in the past. Six individual projects, consisting of four dissertations and two post-doctoral projects, shed light on how, where, and why people have migrated as a result of droughts, cold periods, floods, hurricanes, and other extreme natural events.

The team also developed a chronological database, CLIMMIGRATION.dat, with examples of environmental migration in the last 500 years, weighing the social and environmental factors that played a role. Both individual research and the collaborative project focused on three main thematic areas: Climates of Famine, Climates of Colonization, and Disaster Migration.