In the context of global climate change, remote coastal communities are generally regarded as the most vulnerable (Uitto & Shaw, 2016). This observation arises from the combined effects of their low income, high levels of resource dependency and their exposure to sea-level rise, rainfall variability, increase in storm frequencies and intensity (Cinner et al., 2018). In this article, Klepp and Herbeck (2016) first analyse how environmental migration is discussed in the Pacific region by providing a short overview of the academic debate on the environment-migration nexus. In the second section, the article uncovers the increasing complex decision-making processes and development of policies and laws to address environmental migrants in the Pacific region. By concentrating on emerging developments in policies and rights for environmental migrants in the global south, the authors avoid the often criticized victimizing perspective on Pacific islands and climate change adaptation (Farbokto, 2010), focusing instead on the agency of the people in the Pacific who are fighting for their futures. This article review agrees with the authors’ approach, also known as the ‘autonomy of migration approach’, and will focus on the role of human agency and social capital to further demonstrate how adaptation strategies are inseparably connected to ideas about climate justice, unequal North-South relationships, and attempts to cope with colonial heritage.