Sand Waves and Human Tides: Exploring Environmental Myths on Desertification and Climate-Induced Migration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In spite of the growing attention to climate-induced migration, a coherent understanding of the matter is lackingas any articulated governance strategy. Although such an impasse relates to the unprecedented socioecological processes involved, we argue that many of the challenges posed by climate-induced migration are not unique in the history of global environmental governance. Proceeding from this, we compare climate migration with the issue of desertification. Drawing upon the concept of environmental myth developed in Political Ecology, we identify common themes such as scientism, vagueness, and ambiguities in the definitions, and a tendency to envision one-fits-all solutions that overlook the multiscalar phenomena involved. We discuss how these traits have contributed to the failure of the desertification regime. Consequently, we propose that climate migration debates should move beyond such deficiencies, to avoid the consolidation of policy responses reproducing the same problems that have characterized the regime on desertification.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • global environmental change, desertification, political ecology, climate-induced migration, environmental myths
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-185
JournalThe Journal of Environment & Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch