PEople on the MOve in a Changing Climate (PEMOCC)

Addressing research needs related to climate-induced human mobility


A workshop on the topic of climate-induced human mobility was held in Anchorage on April 11-12, 2023 at the Dena’ina Center.  The agenda and speaker contact information can be found on our companion webpage.  This was the 5th regional workshop planned by a Sea Grant-led Research Coordination Network (RCN), PEople on the MOve in a Changing Climate (PEMOCC), funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  PEMOCC fosters collaboration among diverse experts and stakeholders to address research needs related to climate-induced human mobility, its socioeconomic consequences, and its role in building resilience and adaptation to the impacts of climate change in US coastal and Great Lakes regions.  

Workshop presenters represented universities, municipalities, organizations, government agencies, and media outlets.  Workshop attendees included researchers, extension leaders, Tribal representatives, university students, and others, arriving from as far as Moloka’i, Hawai’i and Quebec, Canada, and attending virtually from as far as the Mariana Islands.  This was unlike a traditional conference in that attendees participated in engagement sessions that were facilitated by Sea Grant leaders in addition to presentations.  Engagement sessions were designed to workshop questions, concerns, and ideas related to climate migration and resilience.  

Structure and methodology:

The workshop was built around the following four headings/themes:

Narratives from the Coast

In this workshop segment, speakers from Hoonah in Southeast Alaska to Chevak on the Western coast of Alaska spoke about observed environmental changes and community responses to those changes.  Presentations were followed by a storytelling session, where space was provided for participants to tell their stories in small groups. 

Photo credit: Sean Kelly

Stories from Islanded Communities

In this workshop segment, speakers from the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and Moloka’i shared stories of community resilience in response to climate change and sea level rise.  In engagement session, participants grappled with questions about how decisions are made and who is (and is not) at the decision making table around climate movement and resilience.  

Photo credit: Sean Kelly

Building and Maintaining Communities

This workshop segment included presentations about the management of climate resilient infrastructure, relocation experiences of rural communities, barriers to managed retreat, and social justice.  In the engagement session, participants discussed and categorized all of the factors that contribute to community well being.  Participants also started to address issues associated with managed retreat, relocatio,  and the role of receiving communities.  

Photo credit: Sean Kelly

Future Coastal Communities

The final segment of the workshop was focused on envisioning the communities we would like to see moving forward.  Speakers presented on reenvisioning communities as they grow, inclusive and collaborative planning, and inspiring examples of resilient coastal communities.  In small groups, participants engaged in a charrette (a collaborative planning and design activity) focused on building resilience in coastal and islanded communities in the face of climate change.  Participants considered connectivity to place, local economies, infrastructure, climate-ready workforce development, and other factors necessary for building the communities of tomorrow.

Photo credit: Sean Kelly

Moving forward:

A workshop report for the Anchorage workshop is forthcoming.  This will be included in a final workshop report that details all five workshops held across the country.  The PEMOCC team is also working on a special issue of the Sea Grant Law Journal to highlight what was learned in this workshop series.  In addition, the team is working on next steps that will include a workshop on receiving communities. 

Resource-Related Materials

Related Documents: None