Although persons with disabilities constitute 15% of the world’s population, they have been largely invisible to policymakers, experts, and activists working in the field of climate change. As a result, initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions, such as the development of mass transit systems or bans on single-use plastics, are often inaccessible to persons with disabilities and further reinforce social inequities. Moreover, climate adaptation and disaster risk readiness efforts generally fail to strengthen the capacity of persons with disabilities to cope with climate impacts, resulting in disproportionate rates of mortality and morbidity. These challenges are felt most acutely by the disability community in developing countries as well as by groups that are affected by intersecting forms of systemic discrimination, such as women, minorities, Indigenous Peoples, and children with disabilities.
As the world moves forward with measures to tackle the climate crisis, it is critical that these efforts fully and effectively include and empower persons with disabilities. In this virtual event, persons with disabilities from all over the world will discuss the challenges and opportunities for developing disability-inclusive responses to the climate crisis. Among other topics, they will address the disproportionate ways in which climate change harms disabled persons; the lessons learned with disability inclusion in other fields that could apply to climate change; the role of disability rights in responding to climate change; and the contributions of the disability community to resolving the climate crisis.
This event will also mark the launch of McGill's Disability-Inclusive Climate Action Research Programme and will promote the work of the Thematic Group on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Action established under the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities.