Farmers market
(Photo credit: NatalieMaynor / Flickr)

As they address climate change, cities are thinking beyond carbon pollution. They’re also considering people and how climate policy can better serve local communities.

“Cities having limited resources need to address many challenges at one time, and they’re seeing that tackling climate change is actually a way for them to also tackle inequity in their community,” says Angie Fyfe, executive director of ICLEI USA, a network of local governments that are dedicated to sustainability.

She says that cities are increasingly looking to both protect their most vulnerable residents and engage them in solutions.

For example, Emeryville, California, plans to coordinate cooling centers, and work with unions to protect manual laborers during extreme weather.

Santa Fe, New Mexico’s, priorities include improving food security, and boosting the market for local food producers.

And in Madison, Wisconsin, local workers will receive job training in energy efficiency, renewables, and green building. So Fyfe says today, effective climate action is not just managing and measuring greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s also addressing social and economic inequality in a community,” she says.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.