Initial Publication Date: November 4, 2022

Climate Mental Health


For mental health support activities on climate justice, please see You Are a Climate Leader

Acknowledge people from under-resourced and overburdened communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change

Under-resourced and overburdened communities have fewer opportunities, training, and means to act in response to natural disasters, and often face political, social, and economic barriers to mitigating impacts and adapting to a changing climate. White people and those with more wealth are often able to secure more federal recovery aid after a natural disaster. Hurricane Katrina is one of many examples in which climate change has disproportionately impacted minority populations. In the aftermath of the hurricane, the mortality rate among African American residents of New Orleans was four times higher than that of white residents, and, due to lower insurance rates, the reconstruction and return rates to New Orleans in the first year among African Americans were much lower (42%) than of white people (70%). Navigation of these challenges, in addition to the pain experienced through historical oppression, has led to people of color experiencing climate grief more deeply than white people.

Include diverse sets of voices, especially those most impacted

To successfully imagine a sustainable future and take collective climate action, a multitude of voices are needed including those of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities that are already living through and adapting to a changing world.

Include other ways of knowing

Much of the science taught across the curriculum is based on Western scientific approaches. Incorporating other ways of knowing about the natural world, such as Traditional Ecological Knowledge, or Indigenous Knowledge, refers to knowledge systems that Indigenous people have acquired over hundreds and thousands of years through their direct connection with the environment.