Burkett, Maxine, Behind the Veil: Climate Migration, Regime Shift, and a New Theory of Justice (2018). Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review. Vol. 53, 2018.
Climate change is as much a sociopolitical phenomenon as it is a geophysical one. Beyond contentious domestic politics and the intricacies of global climate governance, evinced by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCCC”) and over 25 years of subsequent negotiation, unabated climate change promises to upend centuries-old efforts to bring order and stability to communities across the globe. No one effect of climate change demonstrates that more than the loss of habitability driving climate-induced displacement, migration, and relocation. Though discussed at the periphery of legal and policy discourse (mostly in academia), decision-makers will soon have to confront loss of physical territory and the unviability of many places human communities currently call home. Further, and consistent with so many of climate change’s worst impacts, the least responsible for climate upheaval will be subject to the most disruption—whether it is as a migrant or a host of those who have moved. In the United States, indigenous communities are at the frontlines of planned relocation with no comprehensive framework for response or a determination of individual and community rights in the process. To effect security and well-being—a mandate for functioning legal systems—a swift response is critical. Further, most ethical frameworks demand a just and equitable response
Burkett, Maxine, In Search of Refuge: Pacific Islands, Climate-Induced Migration, and the Legal Frontier (January 1, 2011). Asia Pacific Issues, No. 98, January 2011.
As the effects of climate change intensify, time is running out for millions living in Asia Pacific coastal and island communities. Many will be forced to leave their homes within the next half-century because of increased intensity and frequency of storms and floods, sea-level rise, and desertification. The low-lying small islands states of the Pacific are especially endangered; residents there may lose not only their homes, but their entire nations. Planning aimed at avoiding humanitarian disaster and political chaos should already have begun, but a stumbling block is international law, which is not prepared to address the cross-cutting impacts of climate and migration. Finding viable solutions will require new ways of thinking, pushing the law to a new frontier that calls for a reconsideration of existing legal boundaries.
WRITING FOR THE COMMUNITY
ICP co-founder, Maya Soetoro-Ng, calls for reshaping the way we talk about peace by focusing on “positive peace” to inspire a reformed and improved method of leadership.
ICP co-founders, Maxine Burkett and Maya Soetoro-Ng, partnered to co-write this “Community Voice” commentary column featured in the Honolulu Civil Beat featuring the need for young voices to be included in our fight against climate change.