“The Earth is compassionate by letting us stay here,” says Heidi Sarah Affi, Director of Development at Bees and Refugees. Many of us know that more compassion towards the earth is needed, but not many of us acknowledge the reciprocity of this compassion. We are just beginning to understand the impact of climate change on migration and as the catalyst for seeking asylum. Ahead of our Instagram Live conversation with Heidi this week, we thought we’d unpack the relationship between displaced people and nature. 

Climate change has for long been an impending crisis, threatening the natural world, causing mass extinction of various species and forcing the movement of animals across the world. But it is not only the planet and its non-human life that is affected by climate change. Since 2008, 21.5 million people have been displaced every year by weather-related events – such as floods, storms, wildfires and extreme temperatures. These numbers are only expected to rise with time, as it is predicted that 1.2 billion people could be displaced globally by 2050 due to climate change and natural disasters.

By helping the planet, we help ourselves – by extending our compassion to encompass nature, we extend a hand to our fellow humans. We must learn to extend our compassion beyond ourselves and include planet Earth, our shared home, and our only home. So we’ve compiled a list of some of our recommendations for what to read and listen to in the lead-up to and beyond Refugee Week; we hope you find these resources educational, inspiring and motivating.

Tabasco, Mexico. Migrants from Central America riding north on the Bestia freight rail line. Copyright © Meridith Kohut, courtesy of the New York Times, 2020.