New research suggests that climate change will cause humans to move across the planet at an unprecedented, destabilising scale. For many, the great climate migration has already begun, writes Abrahm Lustgarten
Early in 2019, a year before the world shut its borders completely, Jorge A. knew he had to get out of Guatemala. The land was turning against him. For five years, it almost never rained. Then it did rain, and Jorge rushed his last seeds into the ground.
The corn sprouted into healthy green stalks, and there was hope — until, without warning, the river flooded. Jorge waded chest-deep into his fields searching in vain for cobs he could still eat.
Soon he made a last desperate bet, signing away the tin-roof hut where he lived with his wife and three children against a €1,500 advance in okra seed. But after the flood, the rain stopped again, and everything died. Jorge knew then that if he didn’t get out of Guatemala, his family might die, too.