This paper considers applications of disaster risk reduction (DRR) principles and operating mechanisms to migration influenced by environmental change. It is well established that DRR addresses change in risk, well-being and security including through adaptation and resilience building. However, the manner in which this applies to migration influenced by environmental change has to date not been well analysed. This is a multi-sectoral and inter-disciplinary field for which interpretation and consequent reactions to environmental change and migration involves technology, civil societal engagement, and political commitment. The paper presents implications for reacting to migration influenced by environmental change apparent from DRR principles of prevention, mitigation and post event response. Four operating mechanisms of DRR are also considered. They are early warning, risk management, improved communication and the use of appropriate response standards. The applicability and efficacy of these DRR principles and operating mechanisms for reacting to migration influenced by environmental change are conditioned by hazard uncertainty and potential impact. Disaster prevention or mitigation for those who move, host or stay behind involves community based risk reduction, resilience building, rights approaches, and migration as adaptation. The application of DRR to migration influenced by environmental change therefore highlights the importance of engaging localised strategies and well-being aspirations, and of knowing the limitations of humanitarian response in upholding rights and sustainable development outcomes. Whilst the development of DRR principles may analytically frame potential environmental migration responses, there are ongoing theoretical and applied challenges in this relationship.