“There will be a billion migrants”

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On October 7, a man fishes in the waters of the Paraguay River, at its lowest level for fifty years, which weakens the populations, economically dependent on the river for fishing and drinking water consumption.


© Jorge Saenz
On October 7, a man fishes in the waters of the Paraguay River, at its lowest level for fifty years, which weakens the populations, economically dependent on the river for fishing and drinking water consumption.

Anthropologist directors, crazy mountain draftsman, reporter or geographer… Portraits of extraordinary personalities to meet during the next Grand Bivouac in Albertville. Today, Jacques Veron, emeritus research director at INED.

Two directors, also anthropologists, who decide to follow a Chinese street cook for a long time; a climber designer whose favorite subjects are the wolf and the lamb; a great reporter who, after having covered a multitude of wars, decides to speak about the beauty of the world; a demographer who dissects the mobility of populations after disasters… Here is a brief description of some of the extraordinary characters who will be working at the Grand Bivouac d’Albertville, from Friday.

His approach, he presents it as follows: working on development and environmental issues on a global and local scale. It is for him to deal with “Disaster demography”. That is to say, what lessons to learn from it. How the population was affected, what did they learn? It is both a global and a local approach to “Grasp the mechanisms” who work.

«Emphasis should be placed on particular dimensions of the population ”

“I have always had an interest in these environmental questions”, explains Jacques Véron, emeritus research director at the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED). What relationships exist between the population and the environment? It is often a subject neglected by demographers. “It was said that global economic growth is increasing the pressure on the planet, there are droughts, so people are going to move. But we do not bother to specify what the environment is, we thought of nature and the rural world, natural disasters and the urban environment… The emphasis should be on particular dimensions of the population. There is a very strong gap between the demographic question and demographers who did not want to comment because they did not have sufficient tools. ”

Things have now changed. Geographers have tried to analyze pollution on a local scale. They wondered if it could be caused by population density or not. This has, according to him, “Contributed to legitimizing this field of research among demographers. When we take stock of the work, there are many contradictory cases in Asia. It’s not like in Africa where the local dimension is very important. In short, it is difficult to generalize ”.

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According to the researcher, we must try to separate the scientific part from the political or ideological part. “We touch on social issues, nothing is neutral. There is a mechanical effect of climatic migrations. Two approaches are possible. If there is desertification, people will leave. It is not obvious to say that the migratory response is a natural response to climate change. We think as if it was nothing at all finally to go away. People don’t necessarily want to leave. Sometimes they will do anything to stay. ”

“The simple answer by mobility to disasters is not neutral”

In East India, a very violent and deadly cyclone occurred in 1999. As people are used to cyclones, they were not suspicious. It was dramatic, they came out traumatized, but it did not lead them to leave. A shelter construction program followed. “There are strategies to deal with the event, the simple response by mobility to disasters is not neutral. We tend to see it as a way of managing climate change… There will be a billion migrants, it’s not that simple and it can be painful for people to leave. ”




Fishing trawlers lie shattered against the banks of a river as people rebuild in Jagatsinghpur near Paradip in Orissa 08 November 1999. The area was devastated in a cylone late last month, and with fresh casualties being dicovered in the last few days, the death toll is nearing 10,000. AFP PHOTO (Photo by AFP)

Fishing trawlers lie shattered against the banks of a river as people rebuild in Jagatsinghpur near Paradip in Orissa 08 November 1999. The area was devastated in a cylone late last month, and with fresh casualties being dicovered in the last few days, the death toll is nearing 10,000. AFP PHOTO (Photo by AFP)

Fishing trawlers lay on the banks of a river near Paradip, in Orissa, India in November 1999. The death toll was then around 10,000. Photo AFP

“We look where people who are going to move are not necessarily welcome, he continues. In the Horn of Africa, for example, when they went to Kenya, they weren’t very well received. We also have to think about ways to allow people not to leave their homes if they want to. Building dikes and varying the habitat is a way of coping. There are also family relationships and the way in which mutual aid is played out… My approach is to try to grasp in a theoretical way all the possible relationships, and to analyze the lived and psychological dimensions. “

And even…

Waiting the Grand Bivouac, documentary film and book festival which will be held from October 12 to 18 in Albertville (Savoie), and online from 3 to 25, the editorial staff of Release offers its readers forums, interviews, reports or notebooks from our travel-themed competition, as well as a selection of articles on programming to discover and better understand the world. Find it here.

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