Giving Compass' Take:
- Valerie Novack and Daphne Frias discuss how climate change, environmental racism, and disability justice are related, and share how philanthropy can help address these problems.
- Why are disabled people more vulnerable to climate change and environmental degradation than able-bodied people? How can climate justice solutions incorporate disability justice?
- Read more about advancing inclusivity by understanding intersectionality.
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More than one billion people, or 15 percent of the global population, live with a disability, according to the World Health Organization. People with disabilities face significantly higher risks associated with the effects of climate change and environmental degradation but are often left behind in activism efforts. To effectively work toward climate and environmental justice, disability inclusion is essential.
Achieving meaningful change requires a holistic view of our communities. Because sustainability, justice, equity, and resilience are interconnected, we cannot avoid talking about disability. Including people with disabilities in climate and environmental justice work, and following their lead will help us think beyond typical practices and assumptions and will empower us to address harms that we have yet to mitigate.
What role can philanthropy play in this vital work? The Disability & Philanthropy Forum invited Daphne Frias, a disabled youth activist working at the intersection of disability justice and the climate crisis, and Valerie Novack, a disabled disability-policy researcher who focuses on urban planning and emergency management, to a much-needed conversation about climate change, disability, and how philanthropy can take action.
Valerie Novack: Many of the systems that contribute to or exacerbate climate change have similar effects on disability. The same economic systems that exploit and undervalue the Earth’s resources also exploit and undervalue people with disabilities and the places they live. In what ways do you see climate change as a disability rights and disability justice issue?
Daphne Frias: There is no justice without disability justice. Disabled people live at the intersection of all systems of oppression and social justice issues. There isn’t one issue or one intersection where you will not find disabled individuals experiencing the effects of social injustice or advocating for change. Disability justice and the climate crisis are connected because people with disabilities are some of the most vulnerable members of society and often the most impacted. The climate crisis can seem like a somewhat invisible issue, and disabled people can also feel invisible. We’re tackling two issues in trying to get people to notice and believe both the climate crisis and the need for disability justice.
Read the full article about climate change and disability by Valerie Novack and Daphne Frias at Stanford Social Innovation Review.