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United Nations


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Social Studies, Civics, Geography, English Language Arts

Resource Type

  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus


Let's Talk About Climate Migrants, Not Climate Refugees

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United Nations

  • This article describes several reasons that people affected by climate disasters or climate change might not want to be classified as refugees.
  • The author outlines the challenges and drawbacks of this designation and suggests fully utilizing human rights laws currently available to help those who need or want to move to a new location.
Teaching Tips


  • The article includes personal stories to illustrate the human struggles associated with natural disasters.
  • Many statistics are used to describe the massive scale of this issue.

Additional Prerequisites

  • It would be beneficial to review vocabulary terms with the students to ensure understanding.
  • The article includes links for further information on the topics discussed.


  • Students can brainstorm ways to better protect and support climate migrants.
  • Cross-curricular connections can be made with science classes when discussing climate change, ecology, the water cycle, and ecosystems.
  • To connect this resource to social-emotional learning, students can journal about how it would feel to experience climate migration. Some students may have even experienced this before or know someone who has.
Scientist Notes

The resource underscores human migration pathways, projections, and mobility issues in the context of climate change and environmental degradation. It will deepen students' understanding on the differences between migration and climate refugees. The resource is recommended for teaching.

  • Social Studies
    • Geography
      • Geography 1 (D2): Students understand the geography of the United States and various regions of the world and the effect of geographic influences on decisions about the present and future by using inquiry to predict and evaluate consequences of geographic influences.
      • Geography 2 (F2): Students understand geographic aspects of unity and diversity in Maine, the United States, and the world, including Maine Native American communities, by summarizing and interpreting the relationship between geographic features and cultures of Maine Native Americans, and historical and recent immigrant groups in Maine, the United States, and the world.
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