The Comoro Islands, an archipelago off the eastern coast of Africa, offers a glimpse into the future of the global climate crisis. After the islands’ natural resources were depleted, the local economy failed—except on the island Mayotte, which is an overseas department of France. In search of an escape, citizens of the independent Union of the Comoros embark on a potentially fatal journey to Mayotte on tiny fiberglass boats. Unable to work and forever evading French authorities, these migrants’ lives are only marginally improved; asylum seekers from African and Middle Eastern nations who have made it to Mayotte find themselves in a similarly dire position.
In this week’s episode, host Violet Lucca speaks with the British journalist and photographer Tommy Trenchard, the author of an article about this ongoing crisis that was published in the January issue of Harper’s Magazine. Their discussion explores how this environmental and economic devastation is likely irreversible, and how the emphasis on security has only made the situation worse.