Climate Refugee Stories is a multi-media narrative and archiving project that uplifts the stories of people around the world who have been displaced by direct or indirect impacts of climate change, and documents the ways communities are responding to these crises. There are currently no legal protections for “climate refugees” in international law. Furthermore, the United States’ current policies of climate change denialism, increasing militarization, and border controls are exacerbating a global refugee crisis.
But there is hope. We invite storytellers and audiences to debate and define "climate refugees" for themselves--to reveal the historical, political, economic, and environmental causes of migration, and to provide tools for building community resilience and allying movements for social and environmental justice.
This project is funded with support from UCSD’s Critical Refugee Studies Collective and a National Geographic Documenting Human Migrations education grant.
US & US-Mexico Border
Project Director Tina Shull, Ph.D., is currently a Post-doctoral Fellow in Global American Studies at Harvard University. She has taught and published widely in the fields of US foreign relations, immigration enforcement, and climate migration. As a 2016 Soros Justice Fellow at Freedom for Immigrants, she founded the publication IMM Print, and her current book project is titled Invisible Bodies: Immigration Crisis and Private Prisons Since the Reagan Era.
US & Marshall Islands
Art Director Bo Daraphant, or “Bo Thai,” is an artivist, a Master's in social entrepreneurship student at USC, and an immigrant from Thailand. He works through art, storytelling, and organizing to shatter the myth of the “model minority” AAPI immigrant and to foster healing and resilience among communities affected by immigration enforcement.
Saumaun Heiat is a Master's student at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. As a Program Support Officer at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Bangladesh in 2017, Saumaun worked to support Rohingya Muslim refugees in Cox's Bazaar and families displaced from coastal areas in Dhaka.
Impact Producer Emma Crow-Willard is a filmmaker, scientist, and founder of Roots of Unity Media, formed to combat media stereotypes of women, minorities, and science through film and education. Emma works with communities affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the United States. She holds a Master's in Environmental Management from Yale and directed the Yale Environmental Film Festival in 2017-8.
Tanaya Dutta Gupta
India & Bangladesh
Tanaya Dutta Gupta is a doctoral student in the department of Sociology at UC Davis. Her research lies at the crossroads of migration, borders, climate refugees, intersectionality and migrant justice. She works to support women and families affected by climate change and violence along the India-Bangladesh border, and to support migrants in US immigration detention.
Christine Wheatley, Ph.D., is a scholar of global migration and the Executive Director of New-Age Development (NED) Africa. For her doctoral work in Sociology, Christine conducted fieldwork with displaced migrants in the United States and Mexico. Her organization now works with communities affected by deforestation and coastal erosion in West Africa to build sustainable new economies.
Central America & US-Mexico Border
Monica Curca is a peacebuilder, artist, and Participatory Action Research facilitator and filmmaker in California. She is the founder and Director of the storytelling non-profit Activate Labs and holds dual Master's degrees in Sustainable International Development and Conflict and Coexistence from Brandeis. She works to build trauma healing spaces with migrant families along routes of the "refugee caravan" in Guatemala, Mexico, and in US immigration detention.
Thor Morales is an ethnobiologist, photographer, filmmaker and participatory video & photovoice facilitator in Mexico. He leads participatory video and storytelling at Activate Labs.
Consultant Ishita Shruti, Ph.D., is a Program Officer at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Bangladesh. Ishita has worked in various social development projects, refugee assistance, and humanitarian programs in Bangladesh, India, and Cambodia.
A self-described ‘climate convert’, Sienna Leis is a Master’s of Public Administration student at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Sienna’s work is dedicated to working with government, educational, and non-governmental organizations in The Bahamas focused on rebuilding the communities most impacted by Hurricane Dorian.