Climate is about more than just the environment — although that is an existential threat to all humanity. It’s about everyone and everything. Our planet is changing faster than anyone could have predicted. Freshwater supplies are shrinking, agricultural yields are dropping, our forests are burning; and rising oceans are growing more acidic—all due to a warming climate. As our natural world changes around us, so does our way of life, and no one is more effected than the poor and indigenous.
Many of climate change’s lasting consequences will be social, economic and humanitarian. In the United States, though the impacts of climate change will be felt by all, it will not affect all equally. Those with less access to resources face greater challenges in the struggle to mitigate damages and adapt to climate changes. Although this cuts across age, race, socio-economic class and gender, women in particular, in the U.S. and around the world, will be affected more than men. These impacts will include the loss of homes and personal property, rising healthcare costs, increases in violent conflicts, and lost income resulting from climate change-induced disasters and instability.
Not only those who currently struggle will be affected. Throughout the nation, coastal home values will drop as insurance premiums rise, and drought will reduce feed for American farmers’ cattle and water for their crops. Increased pollen and dust in the air will aggravate asthma and allergies in kids and at-risk adults.
“Climate change exacerbates existing inequalities and vulnerabilities. Persons who face intersecting inequalities due to discrimination based on gender, gender identity, disability, race, ethnicity, economic status, age, among others, are among those populations least likely to be able to withstand the inevitable effects of climate change. Addressing inequality and climate change must go hand in hand.”
We at Planet Us are fighting this existential threat and combining our efforts and resources to build a safer, healthier and more resilient future for all people and nature. We are rethinking the way we produce and consume energy, food, and water, and how to protect the world’s forests and help people prepare for a changing world.
Achieving this future will require action by everyone, and we are already well on our way. People are using their collective voices to demand change. Businesses are making investments in clean energy, already creating local jobs and stronger economies. Communities are redesigning their roads, buildings, airports, and railroads to make them climate resilient. And nations around the world are committed to delivering on a landmark global plan to curb climate change, known as the Paris Agreement.
For decades, WWF has engaged with millions of Americans, leading businesses, and government leaders to prepare for inevitable change and reduce the emissions that drive climate change.