We all want to live in safe, stable communities that empower us to live healthier lives. We want that for ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and the generations that follow.
But climate change is making life less predictable. Whether it’s a heat wave in the Pacific Northwest, the spread of tropical diseases in Lowndes County, Ala., worsening asthma downwind from wildfires in California, or threats to how food is grown in Puerto Rico and Nebraska, climate change is disrupting our lives and making it harder to live our healthiest life.
While we all feel these harms, the burden isn’t even or fair. Some of us feel it sooner and more intensely, depending on where we live or work, our age or income, or our race or ethnicity. Some communities face greater health burdens because of racist policies and disinvestment. For example, communities of color are more likely to feel the harms of climate change sooner because of disinvestment and past racist policies, like redlining and racial covenants, that segregated neighborhoods.
Climate change threatens our health, but when people, communities, and local and federal government respond, we can build a healthier, safer future for everyone. RWJF teamed up with StoryCorps to capture the stories of people across the United States who are being impacted by climate change. This collection explores how climate change is impacting health, implications for equity and what communities are doing to plan for the future.
StoryCorps is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived interviews with over 650,000 participants, creating the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered. The recordings are archived online and at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.