Leveraging critical race theory to produce equitable climate change adaptation

June 07, 2023
A photo of PhD student Kieren Rudge

Critical race theory can be used to find more equitable ways to adapt to climate change, according to a new article published in Nature Climate Change by Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM) PhD student Kieren Rudge.

By considering the themes of racialization and race consciousness, racial capitalism, and intersectionality in their work, Rudge writes that researchers and decision-makers can provide novel and valuable perspectives while avoiding decisions that reproduce marginalizing power structures.

“Climate adaptation informed by critical race theory can effectively challenge dominant systems of marginalization in contrast to status quo adaptation practices that uphold inequitable power dynamics,” they write. 

Rudge is a member of the Climate Futures Lab led by Meg Mills-Novoa, professor in ESPM and the Energy and Resources Group, and the Critical Environmental Justice Lab, led by ESPM professor Michael Mascarenhas. They began the research for the publication while a master’s student at the Yale School of the Environment and completed it at UC Berkeley.

Read the full article at Nature Climate Change.