Climate change poses a threat to the emotional well-being and livelihood strategies of individuals in biophysically vulnerable communities. While the biophysical effects and possibilities of climate change are well-documented, understanding the emotional impacts on individuals in these communities is an avenue of research that requires more exploration. Using an ethnographic approach, this study analyzes the emotional responses of individuals, first in three biophysically vulnerable communities in the United States, and second, in island communities. Study sites in the United States include Mobile, Alabama; Kodiak, Alaska; and Phoenix, Arizona, each of which have different vulnerabilities to the effects of climate change. Internationally, we conducted research in Viti Levu, Fiji; Nicosia, Cyprus; Wellington, New Zealand; and London, England. Using the 2014 Global Ethnohydrology Study Protocol respondents were asked about their emotional responses to the current effects of climate change, the effects of climate change on livelihoods in their area, and the effects of climate change on the younger generation. Using cross-cultural data allows for a broader understanding of emotional distress and wellbeing in response to climate change in areas with similar expected climate change outcomes, although with different levels of biophysical vulnerability, as well as understanding emotional distress and wellbeing in areas with different expected climate change outcomes, and similar levels of biophysical vulnerability. Results from this research can be used to understand possible mental health outcomes, the possibilities for political activism, and how to create mitigation strategies that resonate with local community members.