Climate change is a long-term shift in global measures of climate, such as precipitation and temperature, caused by human activities that increase greenhouse gas levels. Its many effects include rising sea levels and prolonged heat waves. Climate justice is a practice that promotes equity by responding to the harmful impacts of climate change in ways that center the challenges of historically marginalized groups.
Climate, Hunger, and Racial Equity
While climate change impacts everyone, regardless of race, policies and practices around climate have historically discriminated against and excluded people of color. Due to structural racism, communities of color bear the negative impacts at a higher rate. Addressing climate change through a climate justice approach ensures that climate change is addressed in a racially equitable way that centers the voices and leadership of people of color.
Indigenous people have experienced more than 500 years of structural racism, including colonization, forced displacement, and discriminatory policies that undermine tribal sovereignty. This has created residential segregation and one of the largest racial income and wealth divides in the U.S. These conditions inform the way Indigenous communities are able to respond to and prepare for climate change—leaving many susceptible to losing their livelihoods and experiencing hunger for the first time or experiencing deeper levels of hunger.