Department or Program

Environmental Studies


“Pay your climate debt” was written on one of the hundreds of posters held by climate advocates to protest the United Nations’ (UN) inaction at the 26th Conference of the Parties in October of 2021. The recent agitation around the UN is rooted in a lack of action toward reaching equitable global power dynamics. Climate debt, also known as climate reparations, refers to a solution environmental scholar advocate for to pay for past and present injustices wealthier nations have historically subjected lower-income countries to. In hopes of global peace and prosperity, the United Nations have formulated the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that have been accepted by 192 countries. The proposed goals center around the SDGs three main objectives of poverty alleviation, environmental restoration, and global partnership. The United Nations, a Western power in authority and ideology, expect nations of all cultures to assimilate to these goals of development to help the people and planet. The individual goals I choose to analyze are SDG Goal #1 “No Poverty”, SDG Goal #15 “Life on Land”, and SDG Goal #17 “Partnership for the Goals.” I will analyze how these goals are historically rooted in the unequal ecological exchange and take a universalist approach therefore, the UN’s expectation of assimilation marginalizes the communities they are trying to uplift. These injustices manifest in uneven global power inequities within, but mostly between nations. To amend these goals, I propose that direct cash transfers could be one way to redistribute social advantages that will repay communities that have been subjected to environmental, economic, and social damages. Reparations create tangible amends to global inequities so that historically disadvantaged countries can better move forward in reaching their own peace and prosperity by 2030.

Level of Access

Restricted: Embargoed [Bates Community After Expiration]

First Advisor

Sonja Pieck

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file, 6 jpg files


Available to Bates Community via local IP address or Bates login on Sunday, December 12, 2032.