Racism, the environment, and persecution : environmental refugees in Tuvalu
thesisposted on 23.05.2021, 18:06 authored by Natasha Mann
This paper explores the concept of environmental refugees through a literature review and discourse analysis of media coverage on Tuvalu. Tuvalu is predicted to be the first nation lost to sea level rise and its government has been active in attempting to secure a place of asylum for its citizens. Although the term 'environmental refugee' is not an official one, it is widely used. Therefore, a case study is used to illustrate how environmental refugees are constructed in the public eye. Using political economy and political ecology approach, the power dynamics that lead to disproportionate environmental destruction in poor, racialized areas as well as unequal access to migration are questioned. Looking at two major newspapers each from Canada, the US, Australia, and New Zealand, and one from Tuvalu, the discourse surrounding environmental refugees reveals how the term is constructed and used for varying agendas, from environmentalism to racial exclusion.