Climate change affects every person, community, and sector, but not in all the same ways. Several populations and types of communities face specific climate, health, and equity threats, with needs for more philanthropic help to understand and address these threats.
Impacted people and groups are also on the frontlines of problem-solving, not just on the receiving end of harm. Many are making specific contributions in understanding and addressing climate, health, and equity problems, with great potential for scaling up this critical work.
By expanding support for impacted populations or communities, funders can help them prepare for risks, reduce harm, mobilize action, and infuse climate solutions with valuable knowledge and lived experience.
This page provides an outline of some particularly climate-impacted populations and types of communities. See Resources by Impact Focus to find materials related to the climate, health, and equity concerns of these populations or communities. Some hubs of nonprofit collaboration or hubs of funder collaboration also have a focus on specific populations or communities.
The populations listed below face specific and/or particularly high risks from climate change. Health vulnerabilities of some populations -- like children, older adults, and people living with disabilities or chronic illness -- heighten their climate risk. Farmworkers and other groups of workers face climate impacts related to their occupational status.
Climate change is a threat multiplier for many populations -- including Black people, indigenous people, people of colors, women, LGBTQ people, immigrants and refugees, and people with low wealth -- who are already burdened by discrimination, inadequate access to essentials, and systemic barriers to opportunity. Individuals, families, and communities often live with the cumulative weight of multiple challenges, and these patterns of inequity may be intensified by a crisis.
Nonprofits representing and serving these populations are also very active in innovative climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience work. They draw on direct experience with community problems, a grounding in community priorities, and deep knowledge about what is at stake. Philanthropy can help impacted populations build the capacity and power to help advance climate solutions that center health and equity.
The population categories below are based on Candid's Philanthropic Classification System taxonomy.
- Children and young people
- Older people
ETHNIC AND RACIAL GROUPS
- Black people, indigenous people, and people of color
GENDER AND SEXUAL IDENTITY
- LGBTQ people
- People with diseases and illnesses
- People with disability
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC STATUS
- Immigrants and refugees
- Economically disadvantaged people
WORK STATUS AND OCCUPATIONS
- Farmworkers and other outdoor workers
- Health care professionals
Climate change poses distinct threats to different types of communities. Health, equity, and other aspects of community well-being are being impacted by climate change in various ways, depending on the region's geography, changing weather patterns, and intense weather events; its built environment, infrastructure, energy and economic development; and its demographics, social and political determinants, civic engagement, and governance.
Communities that share similar risks from climate change also benefit from sharing lessons learned in problem-solving and developing safer, more equitable alternative paths through the challenges of climate change.
Climate-Impacted Types of Communities
- Coastal communities
- Indigenous communities
- Island communities
- Rural and farm communities
- Urban communities
- Suburban communities
- Communities facing:
- Hurricanes and other intense storms
- Heat waves