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Faith resettlement groups claim that the climate crisis is becoming a refugee crisis. Earthbeat| Earthbeat

Faith resettlement groups claim that the climate crisis is becoming a refugee crisis. Earthbeat| Earthbeat

Donald Dardar, left, and Russell Dardar look toward the eroding shoreline of Bayou Pointe-au-Chien in southern Louisiana on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. (AP/Jessie Wardarski)

Donald Dardar, left, and Russell Dardar look toward the eroding shoreline of Bayou Pointe-au-Chien in southern Louisiana on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. (AP/Jessie Wardarski)

Donald Dardar, left, looks toward the eroding shoreline in Bayou Pointe-au-Chien (southern Louisiana) on Wednesday, September 29, 2021. The brothers have been fishermen and shrimpers for their entire lives. They are now working to protect the coast land from further erosion by restoring canals and creating living shorelines. (AP/Jessie Wardarski)

Monique Verdin believes that the apocalypse occurred in 2005.

Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. About a million gallons of oil were spilled from a nearby refinery into St. Bernard Parish, where Verdin resides. Her family home was submerged in 11 feet of water.

Verdin, 42, a citizen of the United Houma Nation and member of grassroots collaborative Another Gulf Is Possible, said she realizes now how much of her early adult life — even the direction of her work — was shaped by that experience.

Unfortunately, it was not a once-in a lifetime experience. She explained that the storms seem to get more intense and more frequent every year. Then last year — 16 years to the day Hurricane Katrina made landfall — she found herself fleeing the coast once again as Hurricane Ida struck.

Verdin, who created the documentary “My Louisiana LoveShe stated that she was exhausted by constant flight and struggling to find a place to stay and who to stay with. She is trying to find ways to make it possible for people to retreat in times of disaster, stay connected and return home when they are able.

She stated, “But, I also think you can’t go against climate change.”

Verdin said that although few people were discussing climate change when Hurricane Katrina struck they were still feeling its effects.

According to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (one of nine agencies that resettle refugees in the United States), these effects are becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

“Climate Change will eventually be the largest source of refugees that the world has ever seen, if estimates are any near correct,” said Bill McKibben (environmentalist and author), a member on the LIRS advisory committee.

LIRS has been helping refugees and people displaced by conflict or persecution around the world for more than 80 years. These people are being displaced by climate disasters in increasing numbers. There are not many ways to protect climate refugees, also known as climate-displaced people, at this time.

Susannah Cunningham is LIRS’s manager of advocacy. However, the impacts of climate change don’t seem to be a distant threat. She said that they are more common to many Americans.

“Americans know this story. These stories are felt in our families, our homes, and in our communities. Cunningham explained that there are different versions of these stories around the world. 

Take, for example, the Most destructive and fatal fire in California history‚ the 2018 Camp Fire that incinerated the town of Paradise, she said. Or the Three 500-year rainsThree years in a row, Cunningham’s hometown Houston was flooded by the floodwaters.

The effects of climate change-related disasters are causing humanitarian crises in the United States and around the world, and forcing people to move. According to LIRSThese were released Its first report on the impact of climate change on migration last year — as did the White House.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees EstimatesExtreme climate disasters force more than 20 million people to flee their homes to seek refuge in other parts of their country.

It is not easy to relocate, and some people face additional challenges, according to Cunningham.

‘But I also think that you can’t run from climate change.’

— Monique Verdin

She stated that for members of Somalia’s minorities, a climate crisis would require them to move over international borders. They aren’t safe in many places of their homeland.

Many Indigenous peoples are deeply connected to their lands, where their spirituality and culture have been cultivated for generations. According to Elizabeth Crocker, American Association for the Advancement of Science, leaving the land can mean losing sacred spaces, plants that are needed for medicine and ceremonies, and access to culture bearers who have Indigenous wisdom, history and songs. Elizabeth Crocker spoke out at the conference. Annual conference of Religion News AssociationLast month in Bethesda Maryland.

Crocker said, “You cannot bring the sacred mountain into New York City.”

“You can’t take it the bayou,” said Theresa Dardar (spokesperson for the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe).

The Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe of Louisiana is one of the four coastal Louisiana tribes. Filled a formal complaintIn 2020, the U.N. claimed that the U.S. government had violated its human rights by failing climate change action.

Dardar stated that the only reason Pointe-au-Chien residents have moved out of their homes in Lafourche Parish was because of land loss.

She called their neighbors on Isle de Jean Charles the “first climate change refugees”, although she claimed she doesn’t like the term.

Dardar stated, “Even if you take us off a parcel of land and put us in another, it doesn’t matter because at one point it was all Native American territory.” “So, no matter where we move, we are not refugees. We are still in our country.”

Monique Verdin in Montegut, Louisiana, in 2017. (RNS/Roxanne Stone)

Monique Verdin in Montegut (La.) in 2017. (RNS/Roxanne Stone)

The Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribe are resettling with assistance from the First federally funded programResidents who are threatened by climate change will be relocated. Their island home in Terrebonne Parish has been ravaged by severe storms, coastal erosion, subsidence and rising sea levels. According to the Isle de Jean Charles Website.

McKibben, an environmentalist, says that the “iron law of climate change” is that the less one causes it, the earlier and more difficult it is to be impacted by it.

One reason that people of faith should be concerned is the growing climate crisis. He pointed out that both the Gospels and the Hebrew Bible contain many messages about welcoming strangers and loving one another.

When it comes to Scripture regarding caring for the earth, he said, “You don’t really need to pass the first pages, do you?” The story of creation is the opening of Genesis, the biblical book.

McKibben is a United Methodist. He said, “Those two factors seem to me to dictate we work very hard to stop climate changes and we work very hard to take care people who have been damaged by that which can’t be stopped.”

According to the environmentalist, 2020 was America’s most active hurricane season. According to him, the fossil fuel that is causing climate change is what allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine to wage war, which has already created more than 5million refugees.

This story is well-known among Americans. These stories are felt in our families, our homes, and in our communities. These stories are not unique to the United States.

— Susannah Cunningham, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

He added that there are still things people can accomplish and reasons to believe in themselves.

McKibben stated that he is encouraged both by solutions like solar power and wind power, and by the growing movement for climate change mitigation led mainly by young people like Greta Thnberg and groups such as Young Evangelicals for Climate Action.

LIRS continues its support for climate displaced people and to advocate for stronger protections for them.

Verdin even plants a garden in the face of despair.

She is planting maypop, elderberry, and goldenrod, which are medicinal plants that can help relieve anxiety and create natural dyes. She selects plants at risk of disappearing with the coastline and moves them to a plot further inland, hoping they will adapt.

She said she would be interested to see how they go.

It reminded her that while humans may not see the consequences of their actions, she can still do her part.

“The seas rise here. Verdin said that we are witnessing it.

“We are learning how to adapt to this. We just need to see things differently and remember to respect the natural world. It is impossible to control or manipulate it.

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