Several American University students asked themselves that question as part of the Royal Norwegian Embassy’s third annual essay contest. This year, AU students were invited to write either (1) the imagined journal of an indigenous person displaced by climate change or (2) a policy brief addressing the legal, ethical, and political issues that will arise when climate refugees flock to nearby countries.
The winners of the essay competition were announced at an event at American University on March 29.
Kelley Hamrick won for her journal, set in the year 2021, of a resident of Greenland forced by climate change to relocate. Read Ms. Hamrick's essay here.
The other winner was Ellen Mackall, who wrote a policy brief to government officials in India regarding the potential effects of the arrival of climate refugees from Bangladesh. Read Ms. Mackall's essay here.
Also speaking at the event were Arctic explorer Will Steger and Norway’s Ambassador to the United States, Wegger Chr. Strommen.
From left: Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S. Wegger Chr. Strommen; AU’s Judith Shapiro; essay contest winner Kelley Hamrick; Maria Green Cowles, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at AU's School of International Service (SIS); contest winner Ellen Mackall; and explorer Will Steger. Photo: Royal Norwegian Embassy / Hanne Marie Willoch
The winners of the contest will travel to Oslo, where they will join the Nansen Conference on Climate Change and Displacement in the 21st Century, June 5–7. They will also travel by train to the lovely city of Bergen on the North Sea coast for sightseeing and additional meetings with peers and professional contacts.
Updated May 18, 2011: A writeup of the reception by Khari Williams of the American University School of Communication can be read here: http://bigthink.com/ideas/38476