Victoria Markiewicz

Graduate Research Assistant

Faculty Advisor(s):  Dr. Nick Micinski and Captain Jim Settele

Office Location: 101 Alumni Hall, University of Maine, Orono, ME

Biographical Statement: I am originally from the Lakes Region in New Hampshire and I attended the University of New Hampshire for a Bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. After graduation I travelled the country working in different areas in the agricultural industry. I quickly realized I did not have the skills or power to change the systemic problems I saw affecting both human rights issues and the environment. I am now pursuing a Master’s degree in the School of Policy and International Affairs with a concentration in Climate Policy. My goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the US while addressing environmental justice issues both domestically and abroad. My academic interests include food security, climate migration, and circular economies. When I’m not contemplating climate change and equality, I like to ski, rock climb, and garden.

Research Statement: I am researching how domestic and international institutions deal with the issue of climate migration in Zimbabwe and how climate-induced natural disasters impact vulnerable communities. The eastern section of Zimbabwe is experiencing an increase of intense tropical cyclones that travel through Mozambique from the Indian Ocean. These cyclones destroy livelihoods as well as vital infrastructure and create patterns of mass migration. Communities in impacted regions of Zimbabwe move west temporarily to more environmentally safe regions. The number and severity of extreme weather events due to climate change are increasing globally, and sub saharan Africa is especially vulnerable.

By conducting interviews with community leaders, government officials, and UN staff, I hope to better understand the issues they face and the solutions that have been tested. At COP27 in Egypt I had the opportunity to conduct research on how African countries influence the global governance of climate change. This project looks at the other side of governance through local implementation and cooperation between state and non-state actors. This is an increasingly important topic in my field and in a highly vulnerable region. The field of climate policy has only begun to touch on the impacts that climate change will have on migration, both domestically and globally, and the impacts it will have on mental and community health.