Engaging the Creator's Concern on Global Climate Change and the Humanitarian Action of Local Missionaries for the Vietnamese Floating Communities, Climate Refugees
Rev. Hanna HYUN
Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary, Seoul
In the twenty-first century, religious action workers connect with local communities to rebuild their lives and means of livelihood. Vietnam's Mekong Delta is one of the world's most agriculturally productive regions, and its 18 million inhabitants are among the most vulnerable to climate change. The consequences of climate change and the aftermath of natural disasters have wreaked havoc on the lives and livelihoods of local residents over the past decade, driving around 1.7 million people to abandon its vast fields. From God's perspective, the world is suffering and in peril due to the disruption of equilibrium, which could lead to the destruction of Vietnamese communities. Hence, fostering sustainability and resilience among climate refugees in Vietnam is a significant local mission objective. According to research conducted in Vietnam, sea level rise has already had significant effects, including an increase in the unpredictability and severity of coastal problems such as land loss, flooding of low-lying coastal areas, and accelerated coastal erosion, all of which have direct effects on the coastal population. Moreover, the inhabitants of the province bordering Cambodia and Vietnam, Mekong basen, are especially vulnerable due to the region's high poverty rate and agriculturally dependent population. Hence, this research analyzes local-level responses and investigates the implications of climate change from the perspective of ecological theology, which provides a humane response to climate change-related issues. In conclusion, the author offers ways for local missionaries in Vietnam to interact with climate refugees, eliminate inequity resulting from sex/human trafficking and climate-related migration, and improve the social environment from an environmental justice standpoint.