Title

Environmental Change and Human Migration: Stylized Facts from Puerto Rico and Honduras

Date of Publication

2020 12:00 AM

Security Theme

Migration

Keywords

srhreports, migration, climate change, livelihoodconstellations, migrationtraditions, political economy

Description

Prior to Hurricane Mitch at the end of the 20th century, migration from Honduras to the United States was confined to a few sending and receiving areas linking, for example, the Caribbean coast of Honduras to New Orleans and parts of the interior to California. By contrast, migration to the U.S. mainland from Puerto Rico had a long and complex history prior to Hurricane Maria in 2017—so pervasive, in fact, that the number of Puerto Ricans living on the U.S. mainland surpassed those living on the islands of Puerto Rico in 2015. Following both Hurricanes Mitch and Maria, migration became a key method by which people dealt with the disruptions of the storms, facilitated by the Puerto Rican diaspora in the Puerto Rican case and by the extension of Temporary Protective Status to Hondurans in the Honduran case. From these two cases, it is possible to assess and revise stylized facts concerning the relationships between environmental change and human migration that address the roles that migration traditions play in responding to disasters and in the livelihoods of migrants. Such findings can prove useful to multiple individuals and entities attempting to manage responses to human natural disasters. At the same time, as widely accepted generalizations in the social sciences, stylized facts often enter public consciousness transmogrified into bizarre and inaccurate forms that facilitate visceral social and cultural reactions. In light of livelihood constellations in Puerto Rico and Honduras, this paper considers the intersection of two global phenomena framed as crises in the mass media: increasing human-natural disasters attributed to climate change and global migration.

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Environmental Change and Human Migration: Stylized Facts from Puerto Rico and Honduras

Prior to Hurricane Mitch at the end of the 20th century, migration from Honduras to the United States was confined to a few sending and receiving areas linking, for example, the Caribbean coast of Honduras to New Orleans and parts of the interior to California. By contrast, migration to the U.S. mainland from Puerto Rico had a long and complex history prior to Hurricane Maria in 2017—so pervasive, in fact, that the number of Puerto Ricans living on the U.S. mainland surpassed those living on the islands of Puerto Rico in 2015. Following both Hurricanes Mitch and Maria, migration became a key method by which people dealt with the disruptions of the storms, facilitated by the Puerto Rican diaspora in the Puerto Rican case and by the extension of Temporary Protective Status to Hondurans in the Honduran case. From these two cases, it is possible to assess and revise stylized facts concerning the relationships between environmental change and human migration that address the roles that migration traditions play in responding to disasters and in the livelihoods of migrants. Such findings can prove useful to multiple individuals and entities attempting to manage responses to human natural disasters. At the same time, as widely accepted generalizations in the social sciences, stylized facts often enter public consciousness transmogrified into bizarre and inaccurate forms that facilitate visceral social and cultural reactions. In light of livelihood constellations in Puerto Rico and Honduras, this paper considers the intersection of two global phenomena framed as crises in the mass media: increasing human-natural disasters attributed to climate change and global migration.