Climate Refugees: A Product of the Next Mass Migration

Climate Migration Employment Development Organization

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 15. Life on Land 16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


With the oncoming climate crisis, a lot of populations will be at risk from disasters such as rising sea levels and severe storms. CMEDO came about with a vision to help everyone it can by using microlending to allow families the ability to move to cities that can better withstand the climate crisis and through the move, create productive, “climate-friendly cities”. While doing this, they will satisfy several UN Global Goals by creating new employment opportunities, sustainable cities and communities and innovating the way climate migration will take place with their proactive approach.


Alison Ingrey

Alison Ingrey

Tapiwa Tafa

Tapiwa Tafa


Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Marymount University


Trevor Zink

Trevor Zink


In the next 30 to 40 years, scientists predict 10 to 13 million people in the United States will be displaced. Through micro-lending, CMEDO will give loans to these people; those who will lose their homes to climate change, and allow them the resources to move to an inland city.

Once relocated, CMEDO will help the families find housing, work, and community. When settled, the families will repay their loans. CMEDO plans to be the leader of the sustainable city and community development in America through building a network of sustainable cities ensuring migrants’ well being.

“Climate change is upon us and is accelerating to an extent that continues to outpace even the most advanced models. CMEDO offers Americans a chance to get a headstart on climate-imposed migration - an opportunity to guarantee a future free from the despair of homelessness and joblessness.” -Zackery Miller, CMEDO staff

“Our company is proud to have created an instrument that is sparking vital conversations around the complexities of our country’s future migration crisis. We believe that increasing public awareness and offering Americans an avenue to prepare themselves is necessary to mitigate the potentially catastrophic outcomes associated with climate change.” - Samuel Shain

Climate Refugees: A Product of the Next Mass Migration


Last summer, Sam Shain had the opportunity to intern for Muhammad Yunus, who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his work in microfinance, in Bangladesh. Yunus’ goal is to help people escape poverty by giving small, short term loans, and teaching them basic principles of finance so that they could help themselves.

While in Bangladesh, Sam realized just how much the poor were already being affected by climate change. He stated that his main priority then became, “ensuring those most vulnerable to the impacts of sea-level rise and persistent flooding are guaranteed job and housing security is a vital measure for transforming the negative consequences of climate change into a positive development initiative for all of America.” That experience made him realize just how much he can contribute, and that the best way for him to contribute is to bring his work and drive to do better back home to the United States.

Overall impact

On an island off of Louisiana, climate change caused flooding, resulting in the loss of 90% of the land, and the 1,000 residents lost everything. They sued, costing the government $48 million.

When disasters like this happen at scale in the coming years, this becomes more and more of an alarming circumstance. Shain saw the need to get ahead of these crises. CMEDO provides a proactive approach to solving climate migration. By the time these types of crises happen at scale, CMEDO will have a tried and true method of moving people safely and securely, giving them an upper hand.

They project the cost of moving a family will cost $7,500 to $10,000 for a family of four; approximately $2,500 per person, just over half the price of what it cost the government in lawsuits to the Louisiana refugees.

Through moving families and creating cities in otherwise unoccupied land in the midwest, CMEDO creates an opportunity for people who have dealt with marginalization and gives them a second chance to build a life for themselves, creating a revitalized midwest.

Business benefit

Since CMEDO is not a non-profit, profitability is important. CMEDO is going to have an app that will give users the following benefits: job placement, housing placement, city placement, and community building. The customers will be the individuals and families seeking to relocate.

In order for the business to make money, they have several revenue sources. Firstly, the relocated climate migrants are going to have to share 5% of their monthly salary for 5 years or until they pay CMEDO $7,000. Secondly, financially-depressed cities and rural towns are to share 5% of annual tax collection from each climate migrant employee for 4 years. Lastly, the employers will be asked to pay up to a $1,500 fee to CMEDO as a “sourcing talent” expense with up to two years for repayment with no interest. The profit made from this is recirculated for family up-front moving expenditures.

In terms of seeking capital, the company is looking for a loan of $1 million with a 12-year repayment period and ideally with no interest incurred. They are currently looking to receive this funding from angel investors, venture funds, crowd fundraising, governmental entrepreneurial innovation funding, etc. They ultimately aim to relocate 4 families a month with an ideal family consisting of 2 adults and 2 children.

The idea of relocating climate migrants is not new, in fact, the United States of America’s government has already implemented this before. As mentioned before, an island off the coast of Louisiana was given a $48 million federal relocation grant. This was only supposed to relocate 34 families which is an excessive amount when compared to what it would cost if CMEDO was able to implement the proactive relocation approach.

CMEDO will be greatly beneficial to the communities that people will be getting relocated to. Since these are mostly areas facing brain drain, businesses will gain from increased potential workers entering the area. This will also benefit communities struggling to secure and maintain a local tax base.

Social and environmental benefit

The proactive approach that CMEDO is taking will save a lot of lives and will potentially improve people’s lives in the process. Instead of waiting until lives are ruined or lost to take action, CMEDO makes sure that people are safe and thriving far away from life-threatening areas. This is very important because it is well-known that whenever a natural disaster occurs the people who are most negatively affected are the less privileged, yet even though people know this, there is not enough being done to help them.

Samuel states that “ensuring those most vulnerable to the impacts of sea-level rise and persistent flooding are guaranteed job and housing security is a vital measure for transforming the negative consequences of climate change into a positive development initiative for all of America.''

Some of their additional investments which will include: job training programs, creation of new industries, relocating the elderly & disabled. These will improve the lives of many people who will hopefully go on to create thriving communities in their newly inhabited cities.


Samuel Shain, Founder

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Climate Migration Employment Development Organization

Climate Migration Employment Development Organization

Raliegh, North Carolina, US

Business Website:

Year Founded: 2020

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

CMEDO, Climate Migration Employment Development Organization, is a social enterprise business focused on bringing visibility and employment opportunities to populations affected both indirectly and directly by the climatological impact. They aim to safeguard the lives and dignity of climate migrants by plugging them into a network of “climate-friendly cities” across America. CMEDO aims to do this by creating a network of rural towns across the US that are inviting climate migrants from vulnerable coastal communities across America.