In October, the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph reported that Ioane Teitiota, 37, from the Republic of Kiribati, has asked a court in New Zealand to officially recognize him and his family as climate change refugees. In so doing, he has become the world’s first climate refugee, the paper said.

Executive Summary

Increasingly extreme weather is making the continued occupation of certain areas of the developing world less and less viable, leading to climate-related migration and the resulting conflicts and challenges.

Teitiota’s claim may or may not be accurate, but the story’s real value is in its near perfect representation of the situation facing the world today.

In his submission to the New Zealand court, Teitiota claimed that Kiribati’s extreme high tides have destroyed his crops, contaminated drinking water and forced residents to seek homes elsewhere on the islands. However, the inhabitable land is already occupied and these refugees have been met with threats and violence from the current landowners who do not want to share or give away their own land.

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