Indigenous Communities

Indigenous populations are often more vulnerable to climatic changes because of their:

  • close relationship with the environment,
  • reliance on the land and sea for subsistence purposes,
  • likelihood to inhabit areas of more severe impact such as coastal regions,
  • likelihood of lower socioeconomic and marginalized status,
  • lack of access to quality health care services. 

“Indigenous, Black, and other marginalized communities in Canada and around the world are more exposed to the impacts of climate change (Simmons, 2020). They are more likely to reside in places where they are impacted by poor air quality and water contamination from polluting industries, as well as future climate devastation resulting from rising sea levels, raging storms and floods, and intense heat waves (United Nations, 2019).” 

Many communities have important infrastructure that is vulnerable to climate change impacts. This includes communities with sewage treatment lagoons located in close proximity to rivers or the coast, where spring flooding causes contaminated overflow, and creates health hazards. This presents health hazards for those communities. Communities that are partially or entirely reliant on ferry or bridge service are also subject to weather-related disruptions, such as the Kingston Peninsula in New Brunswick and isolated communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Text reads "Still from the documentary film There's Something in the Water, co-produced by Dr. Waldron based on her book." Above is an image of a group of people standing by a river, many of whom are wearing ribbon skirts. Some hold up intricately decorated drums, and several are holding aloft a First Nations flag. The reflection in the water is of an industrial plant.

Further Readings:

Waldron, Ingrid (2021). Environmental Racism and Climate Change: Determinants of Health in Mi’kmaw and African Nova Scotian Communities (Canadian Institute for Climate Choices)

The Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health Project (The ENRICH Project):