Key Idea A healthy community is more resilient/less vulnerable to climate change impacts. The last 10 pages of the "Adapting to a Changing Climate" resource explains how to assess a community's vulnerability, develop an appropriate Management and Adaptation Plan, and begin to implement it. Click "View Source" on the right to view this community planning part of the "Adapting to a Changing Climate" Resource.

Vulnerability is the degree to which human or natural systems are unable to cope with negative impacts of climate change. Vulnerability is a function of exposure, sensitivity to climate events, and the capacity of the system to adapt to impacts from these events.

Exposure is the extent to which a system comes into contact with climate conditions or specific climate impacts. For example, houses that are built low and close to the shore are more exposed than those that are built higher and away from shore.

Sensitivity is the degree to which a built, natural, or human system is negatively affected by changes in climate conditions (e.g., temperature) or specific climate change impacts (e.g., sea level rise). For example, a community that is completely dependent on government for fresh water in times of drought is more sensitive than a community that has maintained a community water reservoir.

Adaptive Capacity is the potential, capability, or adaptability of built, natural, and human systems to adapt to impacts of climate change and variability with minimal potential damage or cost. For example, a community that has not planned or organized to address climate change impacts has much less adaptive capacity than a community that has developed and implemented Management and Adaptation plans.

A healthy community is more resilient/less vulnerable because it is less exposed, less sensitive and has a higher adaptive capacity.

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