Department or Program

Environmental Studies


Around the world, coastal areas and sinking islands are facing more frequent and intense storms, erosion, flooding, and salt-water intrusion. All of these events threaten to displace communities and the entire populations of some nations. Within countries, community displacement can present difficult problems of relocation. But in the international arena, the projected fate of displaced peoples – particularly those who live on sinking island states – is even more dire. The international community has refused to consider these displaced peoples “climate refugees,” or “refugees,” on par with others; rather, they are considered “stateless,” stripped of their nationalities and all protections. Should there be obligations to help communities which are displaced by climate change? In this thesis, I examined two communities facing such perils, the community of Isle de Jean Charles (Louisiana) and the south Pacific island nation of Tuvalu. In the end, I argue that there is both a moral and legal obligation to help these peoples. Particularly, I argue that denial of help by others is a denial of the guarantees set forth in the Declaration of Human Rights.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Misty Beck

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 PDF file


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