On October 2nd, 2023, IPK Fellows Matthew Wolfe and Malcolm Araos penned an opinion piece for The New York Times titled “Climate Change Is Forcing Families Into a New Kind of Indefinite Hell.” Read the excerpt below, then click for the full article.
Without a body to bury and visit, a loved one’s death, however likely, remains uncertain. This form of ambiguous loss makes grieving difficult if not impossible, forestalling funerals and pushing many kin of missing persons into a potentially endless search. More practically, such absences can deprive surviving relatives of a breadwinner while also creating legal difficulties in receiving a declaration of death. Even if a person is declared dead, the wound of disappearance frequently remains unhealed. Years later, against ever thinning odds, families of the missing are still seeking some proof of their loved one’s life or death.
We need more resources for the climate missing, but we also need better data. Right now, we don’t even know the number of people who have disappeared because of climate change. Unless we get some sense of what disappearance actually looks like and how it happens, it’s going to be much harder for governments to respond to the problem — and much easier for them to ignore it.
Read the full article here.
Photo Credits: Go Nakamura for The New York Times