Climate Change, Equity and Justice
Climate change is an equity issue. Increasing temperatures and precipitation in the Kansas City metropolitan area pose a threat to all residents and infrastructure. However, these climate impacts can perpetuate and even aggregate existing social inequity, causing disadvantaged groups to suffer disproportionately more from climate impacts and exacerbating future inequality. Reconciling these challenges brings climate change into the realm of climate justice, where ethical and political issues are considered alongside environmental concerns in the conversation around climate adaptation and resiliency.
Like inequity, climate vulnerability and risk are unevenly distributed across the population, both within countries and across borders. In general, economically disadvantaged and socially marginalized populations are both more vulnerable to climate impacts and at higher risk of suffering negative impacts to their health and financial sustainability. This plan aims to both reduce social inequity and address climate impacts, by recommending policy and creating more resilient systems to increase the quality of life for all Kansas City metropolitan residents.
Climate Action KC believes the success of any climate action will only be achieved if there is equitable access to the benefits among the entire population of the metropolitan area without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, income, age, disability or any other classification. Impacts of climate change have put a spotlight on the widening inequities of people in cities across the nation, so any vision for a sustainable, long-term transformation toward a healthier region must include a proactive approach toward equity in all aspects.
Climate Action KC is committed to ensuring everyone in the region has fair and equitable access to opportunities and solutions. This commitment will be acted on in the following ways: Climate Action KC will consider the legacy of historical injustices and biases, as this legacy provides a critical context for relating to, and elevating, affected populations.
Without this context, and resulting efforts to rectify unjust systems, those systems may be perpetuated under a false impression of equitable access to opportunity. Climate Action KC will work at the intersection of equity and climate to approach this work in a holistic manner. Potential future injustices will also be evaluated to prevent vulnerable communities from bearing disproportionate harm because of climate change. These communities must be equipped with intentional strategies, methods and resources to successfully implement climate action.
Climate Action KC will strive not only to include diverse perspectives in its membership, but create an environment of inclusion and belonging that removes barriers to sharing and hearing those perspectives in the pursuit of equity for all.
Climate Action KC Equity Committee included a guide to assist businesses, organizations, and municipalities in ensuring that climate action plans and investments identify and protect the most vulnerable populations. This guide can be used alongside any decision-making process to improve equitable outcomes.