Reparative Justice in the U.S. Territories: Reckoning with America’s Colonial Climate Crisis
33 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2022
Date Written: 2022
This Article links the climate crisis with the ongoing colonization of the U.S. territories. It explores how the U.S. territories’ political status—rooted in U.S. colonialism—limits their ability to develop meaningful adaptation efforts to combat the climate crisis in their islands. It offers a developing conceptual framework that draws upon “climate reparations” insights, as well as concepts of reparative justice and human rights notions of self-determination. It then employs this method of inquiry to briefly assess the recently introduced Insular Area Climate Change Act, which seeks to reduce climate crisis impacts on U.S. territories and freely associated states. It concludes that, while the Act is a significant step forward, climate resiliency for the U.S. territories requires an expansive and particularized reparative effort that advances the territories’ self-determination and prioritizes the peoples’ on-the-ground needs and approaches to decolonization.
Keywords: U.S. Territories, U.S. colonialism, climate crisis, self-determination, reparative justice, race
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