My research

Environmental migration in Bangladesh

I am currently working on a PhD in Political Science, studying environmental migration in Bangladesh. In the discussion about the impacts of climate change and rising sea levels, a lot is said and written about the effects this will have on migration. But actually, we know very little about climate-induced migration:

Where do people go if they lose their homes? Do they go to relatives, to the nearest city, do they even leave the country? Do they return? How do they perceive climate-related risks and which measures do they take to protect themselves?

As sea levels rise too slowly to study their effects directly, our case study is the Jamuna River in Bangladesh. It is an impressive river system with several channels and a total width of around 12 kilometers. The river doesn’t have a fixed bed, but changes its course every year during the monsoon. As people settle directly next to the river, many of them lose their land and/or housing if the river banks are eroded during the monsoon floods. This naturally occurring phenomenon gives us the chance to study how people react to this imminent danger.

I will use this space to discuss the background of the study in more detail. Since the project involves several phases of fieldwork in Bangladesh, I would also like to share from time to time my experiences and reflections from my work on the ground.