Climate justice is a framework through which climate change and environmental activism are examined through the lenses of human rights and social justice (United Nations). Harmful consequences from the current climate crisis, like pollution and extreme weather events, are more likely to harm lower-income, BIPOC, and lower-income BIPOC people (NAACP). Other groups, such as immigrant communities, elders, and people with disabilities or chronic illness may also be disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis (Yale Climate Connections). Within these groups, there is often substantial diversity—for example, estimates identify that about 15% of humans are disabled (World Health Organization), a label that encompasses  a wide variety of physical and mental conditions.

To explore climate justice, consider starting with these sources:

  • National Catholic Reporter: “What is Environmental Justice?”
    • For a longer overview, check out this Q&A from Carbon Brief
  • “Indigenous environmental justice and sustainability”: a paper on how Indigenous peoples are impacted by the climate crisis and can contribute to environmental justice and activism
    • Also available as an online PDF here
  • National Resources Defense Council: an overview and brief history of environmental justice (specifically focused on racial inequalities and BIPOC movements)
  • TIME: an article discussing the importance of incorporating social justice into environmental policy, in order to aid coalition-building
    • Global Citizen: additional discussion environmental racism and justice
  • Oxfam International: climate change has forced tens of millions of people to leave their homes, predominantly from poorer and/or smaller countries.
  • Carbon Brief: health impacts of climate change, including possible gender inequalities in those impacts
    • Carbon Brief: racial and gender inequalities in climate research
  • United Nations Human Rights Council: an overview of how disabled people may be disproportionately impacted by climate change. For example, disabled people may be excluded from natural disaster programs or are at risk of losing assistive devices.
    • The report also includes examples of national policies and actions that are already disability-inclusive and give disabled people more resources and involvement.
    • For a similar perspective, see this essay by disabled writer Marlena Chertock on the ways disability can intersect with environmental changes and policies.
  • Climate Analytics: a short article summarizing some of the ways that climate change disproportionately affects BIPOC communities
  • Green America: outlines some of the ways in which BIPOC Americans are impacted by aspects climate change (such as natural disasters, loss of culturally and nutritionally significant species for Indigenous peoples, and water shortages)
  • The Atlantic: BIPOC Americans are more likely to be exposed to dangerous levels of pollution, and to live near polluters
    • Brookings: a podcast episode on climate change, its disproportionate impacts, and ways to address climate change, with a focus on global disparities