Kiribati is among the many islands in Oceania that are highly affected by anthropogenic climate change and has, as such, adopted a proactive role to deal with adaptation. The article analyses how the government brings together climate change discourses with its struggle for new rights and resources for the country. The awareness of anthropogenic climate change has generated new parameters for law-making processes and emerging legal orders. The article develops a new concept of how to frame the cultural and social impacts of climate change from a Pacific Island perspective, in order to overcome shortcomings of the widely-employed notions of ‘vulnerability’ and ‘resilience’ as frames for adaptation to climate change in Oceania. By employing the notion of climate change as a ‘travelling... idea’, combined with the ‘anthropology of emerging legal orders’, the research perspective presented here enables us to analyse emerging social and legal orders that evolve in face of climate change and particular global framings, which will be illustrated here by recent developments on the island state of Kiribati in the central Pacific. It combines the theoretical perspective of legal pluralism with aspects of the ‘sociology of emergence’ of de Sousa Santos and Rodriguez-Garavito, who shed light on bottom-up processes in justice building and on emerging rights in the Global South (2005). It will be argued that other regions, particularly the often migration-unfriendly Global North, can learn from the new concepts of belonging, migration and solidarity as empowering strategies that are developing in Oceania.