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Advance Climate and Environmental Justice

A rising tide of research affirms that environment- and climate-related issues are inextricably linked to increased experiences of traumatic stress and adversity.


Climate and environmental trauma span a wide variety of stress-inducing experiences such as witnessing or experiencing natural disasters like floods, wildfires, hurricanes, or droughts, experiencing food insecurity or water scarcity, resource overexploitation, being exposed to pollution or toxins, facing displacement and resettlement in relation to extreme weather events, and the disruption of ecological processes.


In addition to the challenges associated with recovery following such events and experiences, the threat of exposure to climate- and environmental-related trauma and related consequences itself continues to remain an urgent concern on the minds of many. Prolonged uncertainty and worsening conditions evoke feelings of powerlessness, grief, disconnection, and fear that ripple through entire communities and societies. 

Further, groups already marginalized by our systems and institutions are disproportionately exposed to environmental burdens and their devastating consequences. Among these groups, climate and environmental trauma often compound with existing challenges such as economic hardship, social inequality, political instability, and poor community infrastructure to create greater vulnerability to devastation as well as additional barriers to recovery when significant environmental events happen. ​

Driven by the urgency of climate and environmental threats to health, safety, and holistic well-being, CTIPP prioritizes building resilience for all. This work, rooted in trauma-informed principles, equity, and justice, is a collective endeavor. It is vital we all stand together to ensure that resilience is not a privilege but a fundamental right accessible to all. Through this united action, we create a sustainable future where everyone thrives.


This dimension of the vision calls for us to:

  • Establish a national entity (and/or state-level entities) responsible for researching and disseminating best practices in trauma-informed interventions, as well as for providing technical assistance and support to communities seeking to build climate and environmental resilience

  • Build infrastructure to make communities safer and more resilient to withstand environmental/climate-related threats

  • Strengthen environmental regulations, protections, and enforcement/accountability mechanisms for both private and public entities

  • Increase funding for trauma-informed, culturally-responsive mental health services in communities disproportionately impacted by climate and environmental adversity

  • Require those who work within emergency preparedness, mitigation, management, and recovery to be trained on trauma-informed approaches and trauma-responsive interventions

  • Fund initiatives that build resilience and adaptive capacity at the community level

    • Provide grants for pilot programs and other implementation initiatives that promote community-based preventive approaches to protecting against the harms of climate and environmental trauma

    • Develop and implement pre-disaster trauma-informed preparedness programs in vulnerable communities to educate community members about the potential mental health impacts of environmental disasters, train them in coping skills and resilience-building techniques, and identify and address pre-existing mental health needs

    • Establish sustainable community hubs that provide access to resources and services to support resilience and well-being such as community gardens, green spaces, renewable energy sources, and trauma-informed support services

    • Support the development of media literacy programs to help individuals and communities critically evaluate information about climate change and environmental risks so they may stand empowered to make informed choices for themselves

    • Invest in infrastructure development projects that prioritize historically underserved communities, focusing on projects that enhance resilience to climate change and address environmental health-related disparities

    • Support and fund efforts to train community members and service providers in communities that are particularly susceptible to environmental and climate-related harm in skills, tools, and practices that promote resilience and support trauma recovery (e.g., Mental Health First Aid, Community Resiliency Model, etc.)

  • Incorporate trauma-informed principles into emergency response protocols, ensuring that responses to crises are supportive and minimize re-traumatization

  • Create a dedicated funding mechanism to support community-led initiatives addressing the root causes of environmental injustice and promoting environmental justice solutions

    • Ensure equitable access to clean air, water, food, and safe housing, particularly for those disproportionately impacted by climate and environmental injustice

    • Prioritize infrastructure development in historically disenfranchised communities as well as those impacted by past environmental harms to enhance resilience

    • Develop restorative justice practices to address environmental harms and promote healing and reconciliation

    • Fund projects and initiatives to address the harm related to climate and environmental injustice inflicted on communities (e.g., legacy pollution, dumping, orphaned oil/gas wells)

    • Build protective factors to create thriving communities and eliminate disparities with attention to the social, environmental, and political determinants of health, mental health, and well-being

    • Work in partnership with tribal communities to invest in Indigenous-led efforts to address historical trauma, work toward repairing harm done to land acquired through colonization, and support tribal communities building resilience to climate and environmental disasters and events

  • Allocate funding to support evidence-informed and promising trauma recovery programs in communities vulnerable to being significantly impacted by environmental disasters and events

    • Require that such interventions reflect the diversity of the community and are informed by the cultural values, beliefs, and traditions of the communities impacted

  • Promote trauma-informed media reporting practices that avoid sensationalizing environmental and climate-related disasters and focus on solutions and stories of resilience

  • Provide funding, mentorship opportunities, and trauma-informed leadership development training for younger person-led initiatives working on climate/environmental justice and equity to support a strong future workforce to continue building resilience

  • Support research on the intersection of climate change, environmental injustice, and trauma, promoting collaboration between researchers, communities, and policymakers to support a sustainable, resilient future for all

  • Work with international partners to develop and implement global policies and initiatives that address climate change and environmental justice in a trauma-informed manner

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