Anthropology and Environment Society
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
Drawing on preliminary research in Manaus in norther Brazil, this paper offers a critical examination of the definition of “climate migrants” (or climate refugees, displaced populations) in contemporary Brazilian and international environmental discourse. In the recent past large Brazilian populations have been displaced from their homes due to deforestation and agricultural over-use of land and other environmental resources. This displacement has not only mobilized responses at the national level, but it has also mobilized international environmental organization such as the Montreal-based GRAIN. International actors not only address the issue of displacement directly, but they also seek to transform national policy as a way of mitigating environmental change and its consequences. For example, in the context of the rise of a notorious climate-skeptic to power in Brazil, international groups have intensified their efforts and mobilized national and international bodies to protect the environment from what they see as reckless Brazilian policies. Drawing on an ethnographic engagement with displaced populations, this paper offers an examination of the definition and characterization of the displaced populations in both Brazilian and international humanitarian discourse. I will particularly focus on the sense of “urgency” associated with the attempt to define and characterize plight of the economic migrants. I hope to address how urgency is heralded as a way to respond to displaced population and bring about legal and political change at national and international levels.