Climate Change

En Español

Climate change is the most pressing threat to human health that our world faces today. Some groups of people, including communities of color and low-income neighborhoods, are disproportionately impacted by climate change. They face decades of limited investment in their health and increased pollution in their neighborhoods. We need swift action to lessen the health impacts of climate change. Now is the time to act. Actions should come from and with communities.

Who can make our climate healthier?

You

Buy less. Be thoughtful about fast fashion, flights and the latest technology. Buying less stuff has a big effect on climate emissions, natural resources and pollution. It’s an even greater change than green technology can make.

Become a climate for health ambassador. The Climate for Health Ambassadors training is a free online training designed to build your climate and health knowledge. You can learn how to communicate and encourage action on climate, health and equity. Find out more on how you can get involved at APHA’s Center for Climate, Health and Equity.

Communities/Neighborhoods

Plan for disasters and heat. Communities can get ready and prepare themselves for floodsheat waves and other disasters. Communities can make sure that buildings in urban areas can serve as cooling stations for residents without air conditioning.

Take collective climate action. Collective action makes a difference. A group is more successful at pushing for stronger climate policy than any one person alone. Communities can work together to hold government and industries accountable for addressing climate change inequitably. Working together also helps forge social connections and creates opportunities for personal skill-building. Getting involved in efforts that directly help others can increase young people’s resilience and inspire hope.

City/State

Invest in healthy transportation and community design. The way we design our communities affects our health. Invest in climate-friendly transportation options such as walking or biking for short trips. Increase access to public transit. City planning can reduce the health risks of heat, air pollution and flooding. City planners can increase tree canopy, parks and other green spaces. They can create incentives for building cool roofs and pavements that don’t absorb heat or collect water. Local governments should partner with communities to prevent low-income residents from being displaced.

Increase affordable and energy-efficient housing. Low-income communities often struggle to maintain adequate heating and cooling in their homes and spend more of their monthly income on home energy costs. This is called energy insecurity. Support programs that increase energy efficiency in affordable housing through community partnerships.

Nation

Phase out fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy. Fossil fuel-driven air pollution increases the risk of health conditions including lung disease, heart disease, depression and poor birth outcomes. Most of the fossil fuel supply chain and infrastructure are located in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. The fastest and most equitable approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution is to stop using fossil fuels and end new exploration for oil.

To reduce the health impacts of climate change and energy insecurity, we need energy-efficient and electric homes and transportation to be accessible and affordable.

Fund public health and community partnerships to advance health equity and build resiliency against climate change. Public health and health professionals play an essential role in partnering with communities to build resiliency and health equity in the face of climate change. They can include community voices in research and analysis, strategy, planning and putting changes into practice. Funding is needed for federal, state and local health agencies to take climate action and support community-led solutions, with significant funding going directly into frontline community-based organizations.

Join the Movement

BECOME A PARTNER - Show your support for public health and prevention!

GET MOVING - Join the Keep It Moving Challenge. Let's get active!

American Public Health Association