The Future Muslim Climate Refugee

Some estimates say the rising sea level will displace 30 to 50 million Bangladeshis by 2050.PRACTICAL ACTION

Let’s look at Southeast Asia! Indonesia and the Philippines hold 77% of Southeat Asia’s coral reefs and 80% of the threatened reefs (WRI press release).

Looking ahead, anywhere from 50 million to 200 million people could be displaced by climate change by 2050. (Collapse of the Oceans)


Southeast Asia’s coral reef fisheries alone are estimated to yield US$ 2.4 billion annually (WRI press release). Not only intrinsic value in these reefs but economic value as well, could be lost. In this part of the world fish is a primary staple of people protein intake.

As we admit CO its being absorbed in the oceans and turning into acid. In a process known as ‘ ocean acidification’. Ocean acidification is sometimes called “climate change’s evil twin,” it’s a significant and harmful consequence of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere . At least one-quarter of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released by burning coal, oil and gas dissolves into the ocean. Since the beginning of the industrial era, the ocean has absorbed some 525 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, around 22 million tons per day. In the past 200 years alone, ocean water has become 30 percent more acidic — faster than any known change in ocean chemistry in the last 50 million years. (

A conceptual diagram linking stresses related to increased atmospheric CO2 (elevated sea surface temperature and ocean acidification), storms, and local stressors to coral reef condition, selected ecosystem services provided by reefs, and human dependence on these ecosystem services

Many marine organisms like coral, clams, mussels, seaurchins, barnacles, and certain microscopic plankton — rely on equilibrated chemical conditions and pH levels in the ocean to build their calcium-based shells and other structures. (NOAA)

Credit: Maximilian Stock Ltd. Photolibrary Getty Images

2014 in Vancouver Bay “Acidic ocean deadly for Vancouver Island scallop industry”. Millions of shellfish are dying off before they can be harvested at Island Scallops (CBC News Posted: Feb 25, 2014).

Have you gone fishing? If so you know some days there are no fish its bad luck right?

Commercial fishing and a growing population have put more pressure on fish populations. We are now seeing several species decrease in population. Forget for a minute about the collapsing ocean ecosystem this impacts people. 16% of peoples protein comes form fish. In Southeast Asia that number approaches 30%.

years of living dangerously map of coral triangle

The coral triangle, aka the Amazon of the seas. Home to 384 Million People. The coral triangle is home to the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia,Timor- Leste, and the Soloman Islands. There are about 620 Million people in all Southeast Asia. (years of living dangerously)

Fisherman are not able to catch the same type or quantities they used to. Creating a food shortage and a migration into cities from outlying islands.

UN FAO: State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2002,

Now, let’s interject some present day refugee facts.

Before the war in Syria there was an estimated 20 million people living there. In 2016, the United Nations (UN) identified 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance. 6 million are internally displaced within Syria, and over 4.8 million are refugees outside of Syria. (UN)

And in 20–30 years we are going to have 50 to 200 Million people moving out of Southeast Asia alone. A lack of food caused by warming oceans, acidification, and over fishing.

Wait there’s more, because this isn’t already complicated enough…

Syrian refugees are predominately Muslim which creates concern. Terrorist attacks are often linked back to Islamic groups. Causing fear among countries that would often accept refugees.

The “Muslim archipelago,” Southeast Asia is one of the most populous parts of the Islamic world. More than 240 million or 42% of the population are Muslims in this sub-region of Asia. (

We are looking at a population that is going to be hungry. The corals, fish, and other crustations are dying and so will the people. How easily radicalized is a hungry population of people being shunned from the world?

If Brexit, Trump, and other groups are on the rise. In part because of approximately 5 million refugees from Syria creating concern.

What are we going to do with 50 to 200 million Muslim climate refugees in the foreseeable future?!?

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