Alaska Business Power List 2023

Poster presented at the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, Gulf Shores, AL, Sep. 19, 2022

Presentation at Baton Rouge Library on the book I recently edited and published, now available here through Amazon

Previewing Adaptation and the Law (1).png

My presentation for the University of New Mexico School of Law

Is the U.S. Government Ready for the Climate Crisis? Examining Federal, State, and Local Climate Adaptation

ELI’s Cynthia Harris talks to three climate law experts—Dr. Barrett Ristroph, Katie Spidalieri, and Jennifer Li—about climate adaptation at the federal, state, and local level. Ristroph, Spidalieri, and Li co-authored the Climate Change chapter in the most recent edition of ELI’s legal treatise, Law of Environmental Protection.

My talk at the 2021 Earth Island “At What Point Managed Retreat” Conference:


Ristroph at what point managed retreat

My March 23, 2021 lecture for Tulane Law School’s coastal law class on community relocation


My February 4, 2021 presentation for the Democratic National Committee’s seminar on the key climate change issues Alaska is facing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z1p-Wz08Wg

My September 21, 2020 presentation for UCLA’s Climate Adaptation Research Symposium: Is Planning Worth It? Perspectives on the Utility of Planning for Adaptation and Hazard Mitigation: https://tinyurl.com/y4p8l7mh


My September 15, 2020 presentation for 2020 National Tribal and Indigenous Climate Conference: Newtok Village’s Relocation Progress in the Face of Climate Change and COVID-19: https://youtu.be/AdaHUBSfIn0


My May 5, 2020 presentation to Dr. A.R. Siders’s class at the University of Delaware considered environmental justice in the context of relocation, COVID-19, and the proposed Mississippi River sediment diversion project that will do little to rebuild the coast but will disproportionately affect environmental justice communities.

Siders class, social justice, Newtok, coastal restoration

Why should any of us sitting here care whether a little community on the water’s edge stays or disappears, or whether the residents slowly move away until there’s nothing left? This was the subject of my presentation at this year’s Tulane Environmental Law Summit on March 6, 2020.


Here is a Feb. 4, 2020 presentation for the American Society of Adaptation Professionals on community relocation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmqfvqeOhgQ&list=PL1vw6P8ktKbOzShWJxMestp9ggnjcJQL8&index=8

From Newtok to Mertarvik, Alaska

Here is a link to a presentation I gave on the proposed Mississippi River sediment diversions at LSU’s Journal of Energy Law Review Symposium. Existing environmental review laws can provide for the necessary consideration of the impacts but having meaningful adaptive management to address unknowns down the line will be important. So will having mitigation measures so certain groups of people are not disproportionately bearing the impacts.



Cimpatico Studios is like a combination Facebook-TV channel that is hosting speakers on climate change and other topics. Here is one of the first episodes (December 10, 2019), featuring an interview with me by Doug Parsons on maladaptations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjimU19KxNw


I have been giving talks regarding the sustainability of rural and remote communities. Here is a photo from Western Carolina University, October 29, 2019 and a link to the talk for the American Society of Adaptation Professionals on November 15, 2019: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1wis_OFnto8QyNhFJiOlwlZGENJ2fL92e

If these communities are not sustainable, particularly due to climate change, then there are environmental and climate justice responsibilities for outside entities to assist people in finding more sustainable pathways.WCU 2019 (5).JPG

Paul Charles (right) with Yupik translator Mark John (center) on stage at Alaska Federation of Natives Conference with me (left) speaking out about Newtok’s rapid erosion and progress relocating to Mertarvik.–Fairbanks, AK, Oct. 18, 2019

Upcoming Conferences

I will be presenting at Center for Natural Resource Economics and Policy Conference May 20 and 21, 2019:

The Costs of Climate Justice: What is the Value of a Village and Who Should Pay to Move It?

From the coasts of Louisiana to the coasts of Alaska and elsewhere in the world, indigenous and place-based communities are at risk of inundation due to climate change. These communities have historically contributed little to climate change, but tend to be more vulnerable due to their location in low-lying areas, lifeways that are dependent on the surrounding natural resources, and lack of financial resources. Villages such as Newtok, Alaska are attempting to relocate and facing price tags in the hundreds of millions to move small numbers of people. This presentation considers the value of maintaining such communities intact and the tangible and intangible costs of doing nothing. It also considers who should pay to help communities retreat and what role a community dependent on external assistance should have in deciding its own fate. The presentation is based on my Ph.D. work to highlight obstacles to climate change adaptation for Alaska Native Villages (which included 153 interviews of people involved in Alaska Native Village adaptation and policy) as well as my work as a lawyer and planner for Newtok.

I will be presenting at Arctic Science Summit Week 2019 on May 25, 2019:

Can Alaska Native Villages Lead Their Own Adaptation?

Climate change, along with social and economic change related to colonization and development, greatly affect the indigenous people of Alaska. Much of the current efforts to address these impacts in Alaska focus on developing plans that do not meet the needs of Arctic indigenous communities and are not carried out. Without a holistic approach to addressing community impacts, many of these indigenous communities will not be inhabited by the next century. Such an approach must strike a balance between ensuring that communities are in charge of their adaptation and ensuring that adaptation measures are implemented in a manner that is satisfactory to those who fund the measures. In my presentation, I describe the perspective I have gained on assisting with Arctic indigenous community adaptation from the point of view of an academic as well as the view of a lawyer and planner hired by a number of communities. I explore the tendencies to romanticize these communities while also prescribing paternalistic policies. I consider whether it is possible to built the local capacity needed to ensure that communities can direct their adaptation.

Alaska Forum on the Environment

Please join me Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 3:30 pm in Kahtnu #2 (2nd floor), Dena’aina Center for a discussion on law and climate change. The focus of my talk is making sure environmental lawyers avoid doing more harm than good when they approach villages regarding climate change litigation.

Alaska Business 2019 Power List

alaska business 2019 power list

An update from my recent visit to Louisiana…https://www.natchitochestimes.com/2018/10/25/alumni-return-to-inspire-students-at-lsmsa-during-connections-weekend/

Dissertation is done, Ph.D. complete! I hope to see folks at the BIA Providers Conference in Anchorage November 27-29.

My Ph.D. dissertation defense is coming up Oct. 22, 2018.



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