“No One Leaves Home Unless Home is the Mouth of a Shark”-Warsan Shire
Sandbags and metal,
Concrete and hope,
Trying to keep the Marshall Islands afloat.
It’s a word we’ve all heard
And all think we understand.
People who’ve fled their countries
And have found another land.
Only now have I learned
How constrained is this word.
With so many asylum seekers disregarded,
Since they haven’t fled war or persecution,
But climate change.
Refugee was a word made to protect a select few
And despite knowing that climate change will increase migration
Countries care to change this definition.
Because to care would mean more refugees and more resources will be taken.
Because countries like that, like to forget that they were the ones taking.
Before coal, water wasn’t precious.
Before coal, people were able to be farmers.
Rain filled with acidity from the mines.
Malawians forced to relocate,
Homes teared down,
For a foreign coal company with government approval.
Dreams of development and progress,
Land that has been loved for generations
Taken and previous owners barely paid.
The company left
And with it left a mess
No clean up, no fixing of the water they’ve contaminated, no assistance.
Just deep pits and sickness.
They destroyed everything
What am I asking for?
A perfectly good question
Once I thought the answer would be a name change
But now I know better
Like everything climate induced-migration is complicated.
Many in the Pacific prefer the title migrants with dignity.
And name changes won’t help the majority
As most people are displaced internally.
Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana
First climate resettlement in the US
Result of climate change and government-built levees
That led to the erosion of the land of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe
“Lose all our heritage, all our culture.
It’s all going to be history”-Chief Albert Naquin
So what can we do?
We can listen.
We can work to make sure to share the climate change burden
Aiding countries and communities afford mitigating climate change
Instead of going on about decreasing foreign aid,
Instead of ignoring the marginalized and focusing on the hate.
These countries and communities deserve reparations.