Synopsis: Environmental Migrants, The Last Illusion.
This project, supported and financed by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is the culmination of five years of research started in 2011.
According to a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, the number of new people forced to move within their own countries by climate disasters rose to the highest in at least a decade in 2020 and, World Bank projections indicate an estimated 143 million internal climate migrants by 2050.
Environmental migration is a ticking bomb: soon, the entire planet will face the economic and social burden of its consequences. By 2050, 1 in 45 people will be an environmental migrant totaling 200 million people (source, IOM). Roughly 90% of these migrants live in developing countries, most of them will remain unnoticed by the wealthy nations. Instead, they will look for different sources of income in overcrowded and extremely poor slums, the most impoverished urban areas of their home countries.
Since 2008, for the first time in history, more people lived in cities than in rural areas. Due to a relentless urbanization process caused by climate change, these cities will continue to grow.
Focused on rural-urban environmental migration, this multi-chapter project tells the fate of climate-induced migrants. The visual narrative evokes a near future where mankind struggles to find a place to survive climate change.
Mongolia, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Haiti are hit the hardest by rural-urban environmental migration, illustrating the various forms of climate change that happen globally: shepherds, farmers, fishermen are forced to abandon their ancestral lifestyles and migrate to an urban context.
I applied a consistent narrative pattern to each country. I contrasted the stories of people struggling with environmental adversities in the countryside with the poor living conditions of the environmental migrants packed in the growing slums of the cities.
The title “The Last Illusion” evokes the hopes of migrants who escape the distress of their environment to look for a better life in the city. But once they get there, the dream of a promising future turns into their last illusion due to the lack of resources, skills, and opportunities.