Real-Life “Engees”: Record Numbers on World Refugee Day

A group calling themselves Climate Change Refugees gathered on 17th Avenue in Calgary, Alberta on December 8th, 2007 for the International Day of Action on Climate Change

A protester’s sign in 2007 is proving prophetic.

Today the United Nations (U.N.) recognizes World Refugee Day, bringing attention to the plight of 60 million people worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes. One in every 122 humans is displaced or seeking asylum, according to the U.N. It’s not only international conflicts driving refugee numbers to this new record: an increasing number of people are victims of environmental disasters.

My novel Blue Karma explores the dilemma of fictional “engees”, a portmanteau of the phrase “environmental refugee”. I may have made up this term, but the problem referenced is far from imaginary. An article appearing on Greenpeace’s website discusses the struggles people around the globe already face as drought, cyclones, and other climate events threaten their homes.

You don’t have to be Angelina Jolie to recognize the terrifying scope of this humanitarian crisis. Wars we wage on one another cause enough displacement and suffering: let’s not exacerbate it with a war against our own planet.

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