On YouTube: Will Climate Change Have an Effect on Human Migration in New York?
Climate - News


Katherine Bunting-Howarth, NYSG’s Associate Director, E: keb264@cornell.edu, P (607) 255-2832

By Shalon Stevens, SpectrumNews1

Ithaca, NY, October 16, 2022 - How will climate change impact whether people decide to stay or leave New York state? That’s one of the questions being considered by the New York Sea Grant. The collegiate research program recently compiled a fact sheet to help drive the conversation about the Great Lakes and climate-induced human migration.

“Where are people likely to be leaving because of things like sea level rise and where might the county be that people want to potentially inhabit?” asked Katherine Bunting-Howarth, associate director of the New York Sea Grant. “Some of those areas have been identified as being in the Great Lakes.”

According to the fact sheet from the New York Sea Grant, the Great Lakes region is an attractive destination to climate migrants because of the abundance of freshwater resources, room to accommodate growth, seasonal weather and minimal wildfire risks.

“There are lots of different push-pull factors that impact why people move and where they go,” Bunting-Howarth said. “The point of the fact sheet was to try to get people thinking about how is climate change going to be a push-pull factor. What should we be thinking about and what should communities be thinking about in terms of preparing their communities for either in-migration or potentially out-migration.”

New York Sea Grant is a cooperative program with Cornell University and the State University of New York. The program itself is one of 34 different university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program. The organization funds relevant research to stakeholders and then uses professionals to provide the information to its coastal communities.

“A lot of the research that is happening now is not including communities,” Bunting-Howarth said. “It’s important for our research community to actually engage with communities, community planners, community leaders, those that can influence decisions and think about what is going to be best for our community. What do we need to do already to become more resilient to climate change, to economic factors, to global pandemics?”

“But what we don’t know is actually if climate change will induce people to move to those places,” assistant professor at SUNY ESF Joshua Cousins said. “There are all types of other political, social, economical reasons why people might move. Really making any exact correlation to climate change and migration is a really challenging thing to do.”

Cousins says climate change may just be the final factor for human migration.

“Only time will tell,” Bunting-Howarth said. “All we can do with New York Sea Grant is provide resources, technical information, research-based information to help our local communities and businesses make their best decision for them.”

Spectrum News is available on channels 1 and 200 exclusively for Spectrum customers in the Central New York region including Syracuse, Ithaca, Utica, Watertown, Binghamton, Elmira and surrounding areas in upstate New York.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly.

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