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Prof. Verchick on adapting to climate change for coastal communities

by Janet Kearney on 2017-05-05T09:02:12-05:00 in environmental

A report co-authored by Prof. Robert Verchick, Gauthier-St. Martin Eminent Scholar and Chair in Environmental Law, was discussed this week in an article on|Times Picayune. Prof. Verchick is President of the Center for Progressive Reform, which published the report Reaching Higher Ground: Avenues to Secure and Manage New Land for Communities Displaced by Climate Change.  Due to sea level rise, many communities across the world are being forced to relocate. This report looks at two of those communities in the U.S.: Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana and the Village of Newtok in Alaska.|Times Picayune quoted the goals of the analysis as presented by Prof. Verchick:

One of the report's three authors, Loyola University law professor Robert R.M. Verchick, said he hopes that the analysis achieves two things:

  • That communities confronted by seemingly insurmountable odds against moving realize others have succeeded. "They are finding ways to have important conversations in their communities about their future. And they're finding ways though the law, through their own governmental management systems," Verchick said. "They're finding ways of moving communities and governing communities in ways that will make them safer."
  • That the report serves as a wake-up call to political leaders who scoff at climate change and the prospect of it affecting more Americans. "We are talking about a future where tens of thousands of people are going to be relocating, and yet we have no uniform strategy," Verchick said. "And that's a conversation we're almost not having at all in the Unites States right now."

The report describes several legal and policy tactics that can be used to help climate-threatened Native Americans move. Among them: generating revenue through tribal enterprise, obtaining grants and loans to buy lands and reclaiming land through litigation.

Maxine Burkett, Robert R.M. Verchick, and David Flores. Reaching Higher Ground: Avenues to Secure and Manage New Land for Communities Displaced by Climate Change (May 2017),

Sara Sneath, Climate Change Already Forcing 17 U.S. Communities to Move, New Analysis Says,|Times Picayune (May 4, 2017),

For more on Prof. Verchick, see his biography at

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