On the Move: Climate Change and Human Migration

November 17, 2020
Jen Taylor
People walking through shallow water carrying belongings

Climate change is already affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people around the world. While the effects of climate change can be vastly different in different places, these impacts are making it increasingly difficult to live in regions that people have called home for generations.

Inspired by GALLIM’s production of a new dance film based on Andrea Miller’s BOAT, Outreach through Science and Art (OSA) has been collecting data and stories regarding climate migrants and refugees and have created this Climate Change and Human Migration project website. BOAT is centered on the urgency of refugees searching for a place to call home, and the necessity of community support for survival. 

Humans have been migrating across the planet throughout the history of our species, motivated in part by a fluctuating climate. Today’s anthropogenic climate change has not only dramatically increased the rate of warming but also triggered droughts, floods, extreme weather, and health crises that are driving large groups of people to leave their homes.

The data and stories we’ve collected show how the complex relationships between people and the changing climate are playing out around the world, including here in Minnesota. Throughout them all, we’ve found a common thread of community, and the need for people to support and depend on one another in times of change. If we want to mitigate the human and environmental impacts of climate change in the future, scientists, politicians, and people everywhere are going to need to work together for the good of our global community. See the full project here.

OSA is excited to be engaged in another collaboration with Northrop. Previous collaborations include an exploration of how digital technology helps artists and scientists explore the world in connection with Compagnie Käfig’s Pixel as well as the Homology of Dance exhibit, which investigated the bones humans share with other animals and accompanied the Alonzo King LINES Ballet’s production Biophony. 

OSA is a University of Minnesota student group dedicated to uncovering connections between the arts and sciences and sharing these connections with the general public.