A guide to resources on adapting to climate breakdown and the substantial changes it will bring to social and economic life.
- Displacement, relocation and migration. Climate disruption is perhaps most visible in the immediate aftermath of extreme weather emergencies, but it creates slow onset effects impacting the living situation and livelihoods of many to the point of relocation and displacement. Climate and dislocation/migration research specific to people with disabilities is still sparse but these resources offer a good starting point on key issues.
- Economy, energy, and just transition. The scale of economic and social climate transitions needed for a healthy future for people and planet can’t be underestimated.
- Agriculture and food. From a source of livelihood to a source of toxins, there’s a breadth of ways food security, climate breakdown, ecosystems and our bodies interact. The resources here offer outlets into the lived experience of disabled people navigating the complexity.
- Urban design and transport. As governments and the private market respond to the need for low emissions transport systems, it’s not a given that accessibility is on the table. Check out these resources, where scholarly accounts and planning discussions which centre disabled people’s voices feature heavily.
Displacement, relocation and migration
Examining the Climate Change-Migration Nexus from a Disability Lens. (Divya Goyal, Bill of Health, 2023.)
“Growing interest in recognizing and promoting migration as a form of climate adaptation risks exacerbating existing inequalities and generating new ones for disabled people. Scholars, policymakers, and advocates in this field need to pay greater attention to the impact of climate-induced migration on disabled people, document the experiences of disabled people with climate-induced migration and displacement — with a particular focus on their vulnerabilities and capabilities — and deliberate on strategies to build the adaptive capacity and resilience of disabled people.”
- Climate change, migration and people with disabilities. Alex Ghenis, Sustain our Abilities, 2023. A series reviewing themes in existing material on disability/cliamte/migration intersections, which is sparse, and brainstorming ways forward. See also part 2.
- Seeking a disability lens within climate change migration (Bell et al.)
- Disability, Displacement and Climate Change (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, UNHCR, International Disability Alliance)
Economy, energy and just transition
My Debrief article on this topic offers an overview on the breadth of the global challenge.
An overview of the breadth of the global challenge...
A just transition for disabled people. (Áine Kelly-Costello, Disability Debrief, 2023.) Includes examples of where initiatives are and are not embracing systemic change.
- Study on energy use of disabled people in the EU. Diana Ivanova & Lucie Middlemiss, Nature Energy, 2021.
“We find that households including an economically inactive disabled person earn less and consume 10% less energy than other households, and are more likely to experience energy poverty. Disabled households have lower consumption than other households in most categories, with the exception of basic consumption such as food, energy at home (gas and electricity), water and waste services: in effect they have less—and sometimes inadequate—access to resources. We conclude that more attention should be paid to disabled households needs to ensure a just energy transition.”
- ILO just transition and disability policy brief. (2022)
- Clean energy apprenticeships and jobs for people with disabilities in the US. Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship.
Agriculture and food
Interview with blind Indian climate resilience trainer Pavan Muntha about regenerative agriculture and livelihood. Includes transcript. (Enabling commons podcast, 2023.)
- Disability inclusive climate justice through agroforestry. (Pavan Muntha and Chloe Rourke, Bill of Health, 2023.)
“Inclusive agroforestry could help realize the human rights of people with disabilities, particularly for those in rural areas who often face additional challenges securing a livelihood because of limited access to health care, physical infrastructure, and transportation. [...] The wide range of tasks and knowledge required in agroforestry provides opportunities for people with diverse disabilities – a variety of skills are required at all stages of food production. From planning and planting crops, to irrigating and harvesting them, to feeding and grazing animals, to processing and selling food products, there are many roles that people with disabilities can assume in alignment with their individual skill set.”
- Helping farmers with disability respond to climate change. Video, no transcript. International Fund for Agricultural Development.
- Where Food Sustainability and Disability Clash (Jacqueline Raposo for Foodprint, US)
Urban design and transport
Karina Cardona on ableism and urban mobility. )Enabling Commons Podcast, includes transcript, 2023.)
- Climate-Resilient and Accessible Architecture. (Abhishek Kumar and Kavya Poornima Balajepalli, Bill of Health, 2023, India.)
“Knowing that the best way to protect people from climate chaos is by tackling inequality, it is critical that our built environment integrate universal design, as lack of accessibility has cascading and compounding impact on vulnerable communities, and especially persons with disabilities. [...] Vernacular architecture is climate resilient and caters to diverse needs while embedded in our culture and civilizational values. Given scarce resources, we must prioritize climate resilience and accessible infrastructure together as we build forward, especially when the lack of both affects people with disabilities the most.”
- Journal of Public Space: issue on inclusive and accessible public space (2022)
- Crip Mobility Justice: Ableism and Active Transportation Debates (Aimi Hamraie)
- Bristol Disability Equality Forum's Community Climate action plan; see also Disability Debrief interview on its development.
- Leaving nobody behind: creating an inclusive car free future (Car Free Megacities)
- Misusing and devaluing disabled people in cycling and urban planning debates, Piece by Gabrielle Peters
- List of resources Regarding inclusive and accessible urban development (World Blind Union)
- What is Climate resilient inclusive design and why do we need it? (Global Disability Innovation Hub at COP26)
- Escooters - accessibility, safety and environmental concerns (BBC)
- Glasgow disabled facing hostility for car use (Herald Scotland)