All across the United States, climate change is already reshaping our communities and making it harder to lead our healthiest lives.
While the specific impacts of climate change are different depending where we live, the harms are real and urgent everywhere. Climate change is making life less predictable, but it’s not just about more extreme weather: It’s changing our environment and undermining the work of building communities where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to lead a healthier life.
The health impacts are wide ranging. Heart and lung disease is made worse by air pollution and heat. Peoples’ lives and mental health are at stake when they are forced to flee more severe hurricanes and wildfires. We’re seeing worsening allergies and asthma, more contaminated food and water, and the spread of diseases that are carried by ticks and mosquitos in new areas. All of these are connected to climate change.
And while climate change is taking its toll on the physical and mental health of everyone, the burden isn’t even or fair. Some of us feel it sooner and more intensely, depending on where we live or work, our race or ethnicity, age, income, or current health. And regardless of factors like income and jobs, there are some communities who face greater health burdens because of past and ongoing policies and disinvestment. For example, the communities on the frontlines of climate change often don't have the same support and resources from government that other communities have--and they're more likely to be home to people of color.