Reparative Justice in the U.S. Territories: Reckoning with America’s Colonial Climate Crisis

33 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2022

See all articles by Susan K. Serrano

Susan K. Serrano

University of Hawaii at Manoa - William S. Richardson School of Law

Ian Tapu

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2022

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Serrano, Susan K. and Tapu, Ian, Reparative Justice in the U.S. Territories: Reckoning with America’s Colonial Climate Crisis ( 2022). California Law Review, Vol. 110, No. 4, 2022, University of Hawai’i Richardson School of Law Research Paper No. 4274532, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4274532

Susan K. Serrano (Contact Author)

University of Hawaii at Manoa - William S. Richardson School of Law ( email )

2515 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822-2350
United States

Ian Tapu

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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